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E206-Musa acuminata-121128-005.jpg | by Charlie Hickey
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E206-Musa acuminata-121128-005.jpg

Musa acuminata L.

- Order: Zingiberales

- Family: Musaceae



I identified this plant with the species name for the wild bananas that originated in Southeast Asia and have been cultivated for about 8000 years. The ones growing in Costa Rica are mostly seedless cultivars that are hybrids with Musa balbisiana. When I took this shot, I thought I was taking a picture of a Banana Tree. Wikipedia tells me that there is no such thing as a Banana Tree. The plant is a perennial herb with the leaves arising from underground stems. As the Lower leaves die, their sheaths remain to produce the pseudo-stem that forms what looks like a trunk. There is only one inflorescence produced. Once the shoot blooms and fruits, the shoot dies and is replaced by a new shoot from the underground stem. The male flower in the lower part of the picture opens last. The female flowers on the top develop fruit without pollenation thus producing fruit with undeveloped seeds.


I did have the opportunity to eat a few wild bananas in Vietnam that had developed seeds. The taste was good but the seeds were annoying.

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Taken on November 28, 2012