Banana is the common name for a type of fruit and also the herbaceous plants of the genus Musa which produce this commonly eaten fruit. They are native to the tropical region of Southeast Asia. Bananas are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics.
Banana plants are of the family Musaceae. They are cultivated primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent for the production of fibre and as ornamental plants. As the banana plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy they are often mistaken for trees, but their main or upright stem is actually a pseudostem. For some species this pseudostem can reach a height of up to 2–8 m, with leaves of up to 3.5 m in length. Each pseudostem can produce a bunch of green bananas which when ripened often turn yellow or sometimes red. A variety was even recently discovered in a rainforest in Asia that turns purple. This then dies and is replaced by another pseudostem.
The banana fruit grow in hanging clusters, with up to 20 fruit to a tier (called a hand), and 3–20 tiers to a bunch. The total of the hanging clusters is known as a bunch, or commercially as a "banana stem", and can weigh from 30–50 kg. The fruit averages 125 g, of which approximately 75% is water and 25% dry matter content. Each individual fruit (known as a banana or 'finger') has a protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with a fleshy edible inner portion. Both ...