bunch of bananas




pronounced: mew-SAY-see-eye

the banana family

Musa is Latinized from the Arabic word for the banana, mohz. The members of this family are herbs, and not woody plants. They have thick pseudostems formed from the leaf sheaths. The very large leaves sheathing the stem are arranged spirally. They are entire at first, but torn by the wind. There is a thick oval midrib. The flowers are surrounded by bracts and are terminal, produced from the growing points of the basal corms. The flowers are unisexual, the female flowers in clusters (hands) while the male flowers are on the end of the same flower spike. Pollination is often by bats or lizards. The ovary is inferior, and the fruit is a fleshy berry with many stony seeds. The edible banana is a hybrid, and does not produce seeds – new plants, suckers, are produced from the rhizomatous roots.



Photograph © Donald Simoson 2012