Banana (Musa)

Bananas are edible

The banana, as we know, is one of the easiest fruits to consume, since you can peel them as you eat them, without the need to stain your hands. For this reason, it is common for children and young people to carry one in their backpack, or for adults to enjoy its flavor in the garden.

However Did you know that there are different varieties of bananas? And what does a fast-growing herbaceous plant produce them that doesn't need much care?

What is the plant that produces bananas?

Banana trees are herbaceous plants

Image - Flickr / perlaroques

Actually it is not just one, but there are several. All of them belong to the genus Musa, which are megaphorbias or giant herbs that have rhizomatous roots, a false herbaceous trunk and broad lanceolate green leaves.

The vast majority of those that are put on sale in supermarkets come from the crossing of two species: the Acuminate muse and balbisian muse, It is known as Muse x paradisiaca. As a curiosity, you should know that its fruits do not have seeds, that is, they are sterile. But there is still more: of this hybrid there are very interesting varieties and cultivars.

Varieties or types of bananas

All varieties are classified into two groups, which are the following:

  • Sweet bananas: they are those that can be consumed raw, freshly picked from the plant, or if you want a few days later (but in summer it is better to consume them as soon as possible, since they rot soon). The most cultivated variety is the cavendish.
  • Bananas for cooking: they are large bananas, which often have green skin. These are eaten after they have been cooked, like the male plantain.

And if we focus on the banana trees that produce them, we highlight:

Acuminate muse 'Dwarf Cavendish'

It is the most important worldwide. It is native to China and Vietnam. It grows up to 4 meters in height, and has green leaves with reddish spots on the upper side. Its fruits are of a medium size, and have thin skin, yellow when ripe..

Acuminate muse 'Grand Nain'

The 'Gran Naine' or as it is also called 'Quiquita banana', is a variety that grows about 4 meters high. It has green, lanceolate leaves, and produces edible fruits with yellow skin.

Acuminate muse 'Lakatan'

The 'Lakatan' is a cultivar from the Philippines. The plant has a rapid growth, until it reaches its maximum height: 5 meters. It has elongated green leaves. Y its fruits are bananas that when ripe are yellow.

What does the banana contain and what is it for?

Banana has a sweet taste

For every 100 grams, almost 75 grams of water, 12 grams of sugar, 2,6 grams of fiber, plus many vitamins. For example, it is rich in vitamin B6 (it has 0,367 micrograms, that is, 28% of the recommended daily amount), Vitamin C (8,7 micrograms, 15% of what is recommended), and it also has 0,27 micrograms of manganese, which is 14% of the recommended.

Banana is a delicious fruit, which also has a few interesting health benefits. For example:

  • Being rich in antioxidants delays aging.
  • It is ideal for athletes, since a single banana serves to satisfy the hunger that sometimes is felt shortly before practicing sports.
  • It can help strengthen and improve heart health.
  • It is effective against constipation.
  • The shell can be used to relieve itching caused by a mosquito bite.

When not to eat banana?

Although it has many benefits, as we have seen, we must also bear in mind that there are people who should not eat it. We talk about those that have intolerance or allergy, not only to the fruit itself, but also to some of its components.

Thus, if you suffer from kidney disease, it is best to consult your doctor or a nutritionist before eating it. In case of doubt, however, it is always better to consult a specialist.

How to preserve bananas?

Bananas are very good, but they go bad in a matter of days if they are not stored in the right place. In fact, especially in summer the ideal is to have them in the fridge, at a temperature between 0 and 5ºC.

But to make them last longer, we also recommend that you buy them or pick them in bunches, and store them in a perforated plastic bag before putting them in the appliance.

Another important point is that fruits and vegetables need to be kept separate, since when one begins to get ugly, with brown spots or soften, it gives off a gas, the ethylene, which accelerates the senescence (or aging) of the others.

What is the difference between a banana and a banana?

Bananas are eaten raw or cooked

It is easy to get them confused, but if they are put side by side we will quickly see some differences. For example, if we compare the Canarian banana, with the banana we will see that they are not as similar as we originally thought:

  • Size and shape: the banana is smaller than the banana, but also has a more curved shape. The banana, on the other hand, is larger, with a more elongated shape.
  • Texture: that of the banana in general is drier than that of the banana.
  • Odor: the banana is usually more intense.
  • Flavour: the banana is sweeter than the banana. This is because it contains more sugar.

And in the supermarket we find another: the price. Bananas are often cheaper than bananas.

But does this mean that they come from different plants? Well, both the banana and the banana are fruits of the Musa, but of different cultivars, so the care of both is the same. Would you like to know what it is? Aim:

Banana tree care

So that a banana tree can bear many fruits, it is important that it is planted in the ground, or at least in a large pot. You have to think that they can be about 4 meters high, so that the more space their roots have, the more they can grow and, therefore, the more bananas they can produce.

The soil has to be light, well drained and rich in organic matter. We must avoid planting it in very compact soils, or substrates, which easily puddle, since otherwise it could rot. Although it is a plant that needs abundant watering especially during the summer, it cannot bear having "wet feet" on a daily basis.

Continuing to talk about irrigation, it must be frequent. At least it has to be watered about 3 times a week during the summer if it is very hot and dry, pouring water until all the earth is soaked. In winter you have to water less, since the plant does not grow as much and the soil remains wet for longer.

Finally, you should know that can't stand the cold. In climates like the Mediterranean, or with temperatures down to -2ºC, and if it is sheltered, it can live without problems. But in case of significant and / or frequent frosts, you will need protection.

Do you dare to grow your own bananas?


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