T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Banana ('Lady Finger) Musa acuminata 'Lady Finger'

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Monocots
(Unranked): Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Musaceae
Genus: Musa
Species Musa acuminata
Cultivar group: AA Group
Cultivar: 'Lady Finger'
Its official designation is Musa acuminata Colla (AA Group) cv. 'Lady Finger'.
Musa acuminata 'Lady Finger'
Common names: 'Lady Finger, Sugar bananas, Fig bananas, Date bananas 

Lady Finger bananas are diploid cultivars of Musa acuminate originally from Southeast Asia, Australia. 'Lady Finger' is a standard-size plant which bears thin-skinned fruit about 2.5 cm in diameter and 10 cm in length. Their fruits are small, thin-skinned, and very sweet. 
The plants are normally fairly sturdy and are often mistaken for trees, but their main or upright stem is actually a pseudostem growing from a corm.
Each pseudostem can produce a single bunch of bananas. After fruiting, the pseudostem dies, but offshoots may develop from the base of the plant. Leaves are spirally arranged. They are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.
Each pseudostem normally produces a single inflorescence, also known as the banana heart.
The banana fruits develop from the banana heart in a large hanging cluster made up of tiers (called hands) with up to 20 fruit to a tier.
The inflorescence contains many bracts (sometimes incorrectly called petals) between rows of flowers. The female flowers develop into fruit and appear in rows further up the stem from the rows of male flowers. The male banana flower is a large, dark purple-red blossom that grows from the end of a bunch of bananas. Its sizable bracts, or leaves, snugly enclose delicate, sweetly scented male flowers.

The banana heart.

The banana heart. with the male flowers on the end hidden by thick covers. These drop away and expose the male flowers.


Photo 1st March New Plymouth



Male flower head with cover removed showing the male flowers. This head is usually removed so the plants energy goes in to the bananas.


The male flowers