Musa sapientum Linn.
Tree-like herb, up to 9 m in height. Leaf sheaths tubular, forming a thick trunk. Leaf blade c. 1.5 m, oblong, usually ragged in appearance, splitting between the transverse parallel veins. Spike c. 1 m, drooping. Peduncle thick. Bracts opening in succession, 15-20 cm, ovate, concave, dark red, somewhat fleshy. Outer tepals 22-24 mm, 5-toothed, fleshy, tinged pink. Inner tepals 19-20 mm, ovate, acute, concave. Stamens 5. Fruit oblong, fleshy. (In the wild form 5-7 cm with seed; seedless and longer in the cultivated varieties.)
Fr. Per.: Summer months.
Type: “Hab. in India” (LINN. 1207/1).
Distribution: Cultivated throughout the tropics.
It is impossible to give a satisfactory account of the nomenclature of the cultivated bananas. Two of the earliest specific epithets Musa paradisiacal and Musa sapientumn are cultivars derived from hybrids. Many authors believe that the only way out of the confusion is to disregard latin names altogether and a species-concept, and use only clonal or cultivar names. However, for the purposes of this flora account I have used the “blanket” name Musa paradisiacal to cover the Pakistan cultivated bananas-even though at least some of the cultivars have probably been derived from other sources. A full account of bananas and plantains is given by Simmonds N. W. The evolution of Bananas. London. 1962., Bananas, ed.2. London. 1966.
The two wild species from which the cultivated bananas have been derived are SE. Asiatic Musa acuminate Colla and Musa balbisiana Colla.
Some of the cultivars grown in Pakistan are:-‘China’, ‘Champa’ and ‘Chitri’. A good quality banana ‘Sindhi’ is extensively cultivated in Sind. Common name: Banana.