Sorting Musa names

On this page :


Collective names applied to banana (including some plural forms, plant names, fruit names, flower names, excluding plantain names)

Wild species



Most confusing common and cultivar names

Some French plantains

Some Horn plantains

To page 2 :
Cultivated varieties
Expected online before mid-April 2011



Paradoxically the documentation on Musa is available in greater details than for most genera covered so far, thanks mostly to Prof. N.W. Simmonds who has covered much linguistic ground in his books on bananas, but sorting the names within this genus has been a greater challenge due to the unreliable taxonomy of the past. Despite the current knowledge in genetics, a lot more work remains to be done, due to much residual confusion. Further search for vernacular names and their classification can already be attempted with greater success than when we started these pages. It is now less of a "pointless" effort as N.W. Simmonds had stated two decades or so ago. In the meantime it is still recommended by authorities to conserve cultivar names, inappropriate as they may sometimes be, because they are familiar to field workers, and adopt the grouping system in nomenclature as illustrated below (ie groups of the type (AAB Group), not the cultigroups which may lead to extreme confusion). There is some debate as to whether names of the type : Musa (AAB Group) 'Cultivar' are satisfactory and as informative as they should be. Some authors prefer to add some Latin names between Musa & the group name in order to add to the informative nature of the name. Others are totally against the idea and are of the opinion that anyone reading A or B in a group name ought to know that they refer to acuminata & balbisiana. My problem with this approach is that it sets a precedent and encourage the very inappropriate practice of only quoting the generic name and the cultivar name for any cultivated plant. For example Prunus 'Light-Pink'. Given that group names based on ploidy only exist in relation to bananas, ignoring any grouping and any specific epithet is too tempting to be resisted to. The result are meaningless "names". One may as well use numbers ... and indeed this is also a sad trend.

Anyhow the work of  D. R. Constantine on the sorting out of Musa botanical names between 2000 and 2008 has unabled us to update the following pages to a more reasonable level. It will still be necessary occasionally for the reader to check back to Dr. Constantine's work or other references for finer taxonomic points and / or the taxa that we still do not cover. The following is a fresh look at the genus Musa and is a much revised version of our previous attempt at "Sorting banana names".
On a sister file we treat the cultivars. The problems there are more typical of this nomenclatural work. There is a multitude of "references" but each neglecting an aspect or two of the process. Botanical names are missing, group names are missing or inaccurate (different sources with differing opinions), non-English names are in their romanised form and we know how this is leading to confusion, names in foreign scripts are not romanised so one needs to spend hours romanising accurately and trying to match with inaccurate romanised names, etc. Then there is the inevitable regionalisation of names: x in one country means y in another while z is a synonym of x in a third but also a synonym of y in a fourth. Finally there is the deliberate or accidental mislabelling by plant sellers. Hence the extreme need for "sorting". Finally I would like to share a comment seen on a forum: "... armed with the info on all the names in different lingos, you can cut through a lot of shit in asking for stuff". Whilst amused by the modern language we feel greatly rewarded. This is precisely what we aim for: facilitating searches and research. Pity most academics and all philanthropic organisations haven't yet understood that.

Species on this page ( A = names approved by most authorities, s = approved as synonyms) :

Musa spp.
ARABIC : Maouz, Maozeh (Lebanese), Mauz, Mazw, Moaz, Mouz,  موز   Moz  (Egypt).
ARMENIAN :  ադամաթուզ  Adamat'uz, բանան.
ASSAMESE :  কলা  Kala.
BENGALI :  কলা  Kala.
BURMESE :     (nghak-pyau:)  Hnget pyaw / Nget pyaw, Nget pyo thee, Nga pyaw thee, Nga pyaw phoo (flower).
CATALAN :  Banana (fruit), Bananer, Plàtan (fruit).
CHINESE : Jiao (Tsiu, Chiu), Shang chao fua (? flower).
CZECH :  Banánovník.
DANISH : Banan, Bananer, Bananbusk (plant), Banantræ (plant).
DUTCH : Banaan, Bananen, Banaanboom (plant), Banaanplant, Bananeplant.
ENGLISH : Banana, Banana tree, Banana shrub.
FINNISH : Banaanit, Banaanirata, Banaanikasvi (plant).
FRENCH : Banane, Bananes, Bananier (plant), Figue (ingredient, dried fruit - Caribbean-Sea islands).
GERMAN : Banane, Bananen, Bananenpisang, Bananenstaude (plant).
GREEK :  Μπανάνα.
GUJARATIકેળાં, કેળું
HAUSA : Ayaba.
HEBREW :  בננות  ,Vananah  בַּנָּנָה
HINDI : कदली  Kadali,   केले  Kela (fruit),   केले का पेड़  Kela kaa per (plant),  केला   Kelaa (fruit),  केला का फूल  Kelaa kaa phuul (Kelaa ka fool / Kere kafool) (flower), पापड़ा Paapraa .
ITALIAN : Banana, Banane, Banano (plant).
JAPANESE :  バナナ Banana, バナナの 木 Banana no ki (plant), Banana no tsubomi (flower), バショウ  Bashou.
KANNADA :   ಕದಳಿ  Kadali,  ಬಾಳೆ  Baale (balay),    ಬಾಳೇಹಣ್ಣು   Baalehannu (Balayhanu), ಬಾಳೆಹಣ್ಣು. , ಬಳೆ ಕಾಯಿ bale kaayi.
KHMER : Cheek nam'vaa, Chec.
KOREAN :  바나나  Panana. vaazha
LAOTIAN :  ໝາກກ້ວຍ    Mak guy, Kwàyz, Kok khone.
MALAGASY :  Akondro.
MALAY : Pisang, Getang (Indonesia), Jantung pisang (flower), Djantoong (Indonesia).
MALAYALAM :   മഊചം Maoocham (Maaucam), വാഴ  Vaazha, , വാഴപ്പഴം  Vaazhappazham.  
MARATHI :   वेलची  Velachi.
NEPALESE :   कदली   Kadalii.
POLISH :  Drzewo bananowe, Bananowca, Bananowiec.
PORTUGUESE : Banana, Bananas, Bananeira (plant).
RUSSIAN :   банан   Banan.  
SERBIAN :  бана́на.
SINHALESE : Kehel, Kehel mal.
SLOVAKIAN :  Bananovec.
SLOVENIAN :  Banánovník.
SPANISH : Banana, Platano, Plátanos, Cambur (plant), Banano (plant), Platanero (plant).
SWAHILI : Ndizi, Maso.
SWEDISH : Bananer.
TAGALOG : Saging (Fruit), Puso (flower), Punong saging (plant).
TAMIL :  வாழை தண்டு  (stem),   வாழை Vaazhai, வாழைபூ  Vaazhaipoo (flower), வாழை மரம் (plant), வாழைப்பழம், Vazhei.
TELUGU :  అరటి Arati,  అరటిపండు  Artipandu, కదళ  Kadala.
THAI :   กล้วย  Kluai / Kluay / Klue / Kluey / Gluai / Glooway / Gkloo ay, Dok kluai (flower), Hua blee (flower).
URDU : کيلا   Kelaa (Keyla),  كيلا كا پهول    Kelaa kaa phuul (flower), کيلا   Kelaa, موز  Mauz.
VIETNAMESE :  Hoa chuối (flower), Bắp chuối (flower)Cây chuối (leaf),  Quả chuối (fruit).
YORUBA :  Ọ̀gẹ̀dẹ̀, Ogede.

Musa acuminata Colla

SYNONYM(S) : Musa simiarum Rumph.

ARABIC :  الموزالبري .

BURMESE :   Thi-hmwe-nget-pyaw, Wet-ma-lut.

CATALAN :  Bananer silvestre.

CHINESE : Xiang jiao, Xiao guo ye jiao, Zhong guo ai jiao , Gao jiao ya jiao, Gao jiao xiang jiao.

DANISH : Raad i bananspidsen, Sygdom i bananspidsen .

DUTCH : Chinese banaan .

ENGLISH : Wild banana type A, Chinese banana, Dwarf banana, Sweet's banana, Wild banana, Banana inflorescence (ingredient), Banana flower (ingredient), "Seedless banana" (misapplied).

FRENCH :  Baby banana, Banane sauvage, Banane de Chine, Bananier de Chine.

GERMAN : Chinabanane.

ITALIAN : Banana di Cina.

JAPANESE :  ミバショウ  Mi bashou, 実芭蕉  Mi bashou,  ムサ・アクミナータ    Musa akuminaata, サンジャクバナナ  Sanjaku banana, 三尺バナナ Sanjaku banana,  タイワンバナナ  Taiwan banana, 台湾バナナ Taiwan banana.

MARATHI :  वेलची केळ  Velachi kela.

PORTUGUESE : Banana da China.

RUSSIAN :  Банан заострённый.

SPANISH : Bananito, Platano de China, Plátano malayo.

TAMIL :  வாழையின் தாவர பெயர்.

THAI :  กล้วยป่า  Kluai bpàa,  กล้วยเถื่อน   Kluai thuean, กล้วย เถื่อนน้ำมัน   Kluai thuean namman.

VIETNAMESE :  Chuối hoang nhọn, Chuối rừng, Chuối rừng hoa đỏ, Chuối tây rừng.

Musa acuminata Colla subsp. acuminata

SYNONYM(S) :   Musa cerifera (Backer) Nakai,  Musa chinensis Sweet, Musa rumphiana Kurz, Musa simiarum Miq.

BURMESE :   Thi-hmwe-nget-pyaw,    Wak-ma.lwut nghak-pyau: (as M. chinensis), Wet-ma-lut.

Musa acuminata Colla subsp. burmannica N. W. Simmonds

SYNONYM(S) : Musa acuminata Colla var. burmannicoides De Langhe

BURMESE :      (tau: nghak-pyau:)  Taw nget byaw.

ENGLISH : Burmese wild banana, Sri Lanka wild banana.

FRENCH :  Bananier sauvage de Birmanie.

JAPANESE :  ビルマバナナ   Biruma banana.

THAI :  กล้วยพม่า  Kluai pa maa.

The name   meaning (wild banana) is commonly applied to several species in Burma, as "wild banana" could be in English speaking countries. "tau: nghak-pyau:" is probably best suited to this taxon.

Musa acuminata Colla subsp. errans (Blanco) R.V. Valmayor

SYNONYM(S) : Musa errans (Blanco) N.G.Teodoro , Musa errans (Blanco) N.G.Teodoro var. botoan N.G.Teodoro, Musa troglodytarum L. var. errans Blanco

DANISH : Buthan-banan

DUTCH : Butuhan-banaan.

ENGLISH : Butuhan banana, Fleur de banane des Philippines, Monkey banana.

FRENCH : Banane Butuhan à graines, Banane à boutons floraux comestibles.

GERMAN : Butuhan-Banane

ITALIAN : Banana Butuan

JAPANESE :  ボトアン  Botoan,  ボトアンバナナ Botoan banana, モンキーバ ナナ  Monkii banana .

PORTUGUESE : Banana Butuhan

SPANISH : Platano Butuhan.

TAGALOG :  Butuan, Saging butuan, Saging chongo, Saging na ligao.

Musa acuminata Colla subsp. flaviflora Simmonds.

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa flaviflora Simmonds

Musa acuminata Colla subsp. halabanensis (Meijer) M. Hotta

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa acuminata Colla var. halabanensis (Meijer) Nasution, Musa halabanensis Meijer

ENGLISH : West Sumatra wild banana.

Musa acuminata Colla subsp. malaccensis (Ridl.) N. W. Simmonds

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa acuminata Colla subsp. malaccensis (Ridl.) Simmonds, Musa acuminata Colla var. flava (Ridl.) Nasution , Musa acuminata Colla var. malaccensis (Ridl.) Nasution, Musa flava Ridl., Musa malaccensis Ridl.

ENGLISH :  Wild Malaysian banana.

THAI :  กล้วยป่ามาเลเซีย  Kluai bpaa maa lay sia.

Musa acuminata Colla subsp. microcarpa (Becc.) N. W. Simmonds

SYNONYM(S) : Musa acuminata Colla subsp. microcarpa (Becc.) Simmonds, Musa acuminata Colla var. microcarpa (Becc.) Nasution, Musa microcarpa Becc.

ENGLISH : Small-fruited wild banana.

Musa acuminata Colla subsp. siamea N. W. Simmonds

SYNONYM(S) : Musa siamea Simmonds

ENGLISH : Thai wild banana.

FRENCH :  Bananier sauvage du Cambodge, Bananier sauvage du Laos.

Musa acuminata Colla subsp. truncata (Ridl.) Kiew

SYNONYM(S) : Musa truncata Ridl.

ENGLISH :  Malaysia highlands wild banana.

Musa acuminata Colla subsp. zebrina (Van Houtte) R. E. Nasution

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa rojo Hort., Musa zebrina Van Houtte ex Planchon, Musa zebrina (Van Houtte) Backer, Musa acuminata Colla var. zebrina (Van Houtte ex Planchon) Nasution

ENGLISH :  Blood banana, Seeded red banana, Sumatra ornamental banana, Maroon-variegated banana plant.

FRENCH :  Bananier à feuilles zébrées de rouge, Bananier à feuilles zébrées de violet, Bananier à petits fruits rouges, Bananier ornemental de Sumatra, Bananier Zébrina.

JAPANESE :  ゼブリナバナナ  Zeburina banana.

RUSSIAN :  Декоративный банан  Dekorativnyj banan.

SPANISH :  Banana rojo.

THAI :  กล้วยมะนี  Kluai ma ni.

VIETNAMESE :  Chuối kiểng.

Musa acuminata Colla subsp. zebrina (Van Houtte) R. E. Nasution 'Siam Ruby'

SYNONYM(S) :    Musa acuminata Colla 'Ace of Hearts', Musa acuminata Colla 'Palawan Red' 

ENGLISH :  Chartreuse-green-flecked red banana plant, Green-striated red banana plant, Green spotted red banana plant, Green mottled red banana plant, Light-green-striped red-leaved banana, Red-leaved banana, Ruby-red-leaved banana, Siamese red banana plant.

FRENCH :  Bananier à feuilles rouges, Bananier à feuilles rouges zébrées de vert.

THAI :  กล้วยมะนีแดง   Kluai ma ni daeng.

VIETNAMESE :  Chuối xiêm.

This is one of the two most outstandingly attractive of all Musa cultivars. A mostly red plant. The other Musa (AAB Group) 'Manini' being mostly green variegated with white and cream.
According to some nursery people there would be a plain red-leaved form (possibly the true "Blood banana") and a variegated form of 'Siam Ruby'. The variegated form displaying sometime leaves half green and half red.

Musa acuminata Colla var. sumatrana (Becc.) R. E. Nasution 

SYNONYM(S) : Musa sumatrana Becc., Musa sumatrana Becc. ex André

JAPANESE :   トラフバショウ  Torafu bashou.

Possibly a synonym of  Musa acuminata Colla subsp. zebrina (Van Houtte) R. E. Nasution

Musa acuminata Colla var. tomentosa (Warb. ex K.Schum.) R. E. Nasution

SYNONYM(S) : Musa tomentosa Warb. ex K.Schum.

Musa acuminata Colla cultivars, modern nomenclature.

Musa airori Sagot

ENGLISH :  Fe'i banana, Society Islands Fe‘i’ banana.

JAPANESE : Airori, Aiori ?

This taxon, like Musa fehi Bert. ex Vieill., is in fact a synonym of an unknown type of Fe‘i’ banana. Taxonomically speaking the Fe‘i’ bananas are a poorly understood mixed bag of cultivated bananas from the Pacific region.

Musa angcorensis Gagnep.

ENGLISH :  Angkor banana, Cambodian banana, Kampuchea banana.

FRENCH :  Bananier du Cambodge.

Musa x arakanensis F.W.Ripley ex Blechynden

BURMESE :     Ra.hkeing nghak-pyau: , Yakhine-ngetpyaw.

ENGLISH :  Burmese banana, Arakan Coast banana, Rakhine Coast banana.

Musa bakeri Hook. f.

BURMESE :      (tau: nghak-pyau:)  Taw nget byaw.

Musa balbisiana Colla

SYNONYM(S) :   Musa brachycarpa Backer, Musa dechangensis J. L. Liu & M. G. Liu,  Musa lushanensis J. L. Liu, Musa luteola J. L. Liu, Musa paradisiaca L. subsp. seminifera Lour. var. pruinosa (G. King ex K. Schum.) A. Cowan & J. Cowan 

BURMESE :     (tau: nghak-pyau:)  Taw nget byaw.

CATALAN :  Bananer silvestre.

CHINESE: Jiao, 拔蕉  Ba jiao,   Ye jiao.

DANISH: Melet banan.

DUTCH: Meelbanaan.

ENGLISH: Balbis banana, Starchy banana, Mealy banana, Seeded apple banana (Hawaii), Seedy banana, Wild starchy banana, Banana inflorescence (ingredient), Banana flower (ingredient), Wild banana type B.

FINNISH: Jauhobanaani.

FRENCH: Banane farineuse.

GERMAN: Mehlbanane.

GREEK :  Φυτευτές μπανάνες.

ITALIAN: Banana farinosa.

JAPANESE :  リュウキュウイトバショウ  Ryuukyuu ito bashou,  琉球糸芭蕉 Ryuukyuu ito bashou,  ムサ・バルビシアナ  Musa barubishiana.

MALAY : Pisang batu, Biu batu (Indonesia - Bali), Pisang klutuk wulung.

PORTUGUESE: Bananeira-do-paraíso, Bananeira-pão.

RUSSIAN :  Банан Бальбиса

SPANISH : Banano harinoso.

TAGALOG :  Botohan, Pacol.

THAI :   กล้วยตานี   Kluai taa nee (Kluai ta ni, Kluai dtaa nee).

VIETNAMESE :  Chuối chát, Chuối hột, Chuối hột rừng, Chuối rừng.


Musa balbisiana Colla var. andamica D. B. Singh et al. 

ENGLISH :   Andaman wild banana.

Musa balbisiana Colla var. liukiuensis (Matsum.) Hakkinen

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa liukiuensis (Matsum.) Makino,  Musa x sapientum var. liukiuensis Matsumura

CHINESE :  琉球絲芭蕉  Liu qiu si ba jiao (Taiwan, as M. liukiuensis).

ENGLISH :  Ryukyu Islands wild banana.

JAPANESE :  イトバショウ  Ito bashou (as M. liukiuensis),   リュウキュウバショウ  Ryuukyuu bashou (as M. liukiuensis).

Musa balbisiana Colla cultivars, modern nomenclature.

Musa banksii F. Muell.

SYNONYM(S) :   Musa acuminata Colla subsp. banksii (F. Muell.) Simmonds, Musa banksii (von Muell.) var. banksii K. Domin, Musa banksii (von Muell.) var. muelleriana K. Domin, Musa banksiana Kurz

ENGLISH :   Australian banana, Banks' banana, Native banana (Aust.).

FRENCH :  Bananier d'Australie, Bananier de Banks.

RUSSIAN :  Банан Банкса.

Musa basjoo (Siebold) Iinuma ex Baker

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa basjoo Siebold, Musa basjoo Siebold & Zucc., Musa japonica Thib. & Keteleer, Musa saporro Hort.  

It is unclear if all the Musa basjou are synonyms or not. All common names would appear to fit all in any case.

Musa basjoo (Siebold) Iinuma ex Baker var. formosana (Warb. ex Schum.) S. S. Ying

SYNONYM(S) :   Musa formosana (Warb. ex Schum.) Hayata

CHINESE :  台湾芭蕉, 台灣芭蕉  Tai wan ba jiao (Taiwan), 山 芎蕉.

ENGLISH :  Taiwan banana, Taiwan mountain banana.

FRENCH : Bananier basjoo de Formose.

JAPANESE : Taiwan bashou.

RUSSIAN :  Банан тайваньский

Musa basjoo Siebold & Zucc ex Iinuma

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa basjoo J. G. Baker

CATALAN :  Bananer del Japó.

CHINESE: Ba jiao, Ba jiao you, Gan jiao, Ya jiao.

ENGLISH: Japanese banana.

FRENCH: Bananier basjoo, Bananier du Japon.

GERMAN :  Japanische Faserbanane.

JAPANESE :  バショウ  Bashou, 芭蕉  Bashou .

RUSSIAN :  Банан японский  Banan iaponskij, Банан Басио Banan Basio.

It is unclear if all the Musa basjou are synonyms or not. All common names would appear to fit all in any case.

Musa basjoo Sieb. & Zucc. ex Iinuma 'Variegata'

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa basjoo Siebold & Zucc ex Iinuma 'Fuji-Yama Variegata'

Musa beccarii Simmonds

ENGLISH :  Borneo banana.

Musa beccarii Simmonds var. beccarii

Musa beccarii Simmonds var. hottana Haekkinen

ENGLISH :  Kinanbatangan River banana (Malaysia), Sabah banana.

Musa borneensis Becc. 

ENGLISH :  Borneo banana.

Musa borneensis Becc. var. alutacea Hakkinen & Meekiong

Musa borneensis Becc. var. borneensis

Musa borneensis Becc. var. flavida (M. Hotta) Hakkinen & Meekiong

SYNONYM(S) :    Musa flavida M. Hotta

Musa borneensis Becc. var. lutea Häkkinen & Meekiong

Musa borneensis Becc. var. phoenicea Hakkinen & Meekiong

Musa borneensis Becc. var. sarawakensis Hakkinen & Meekiong

ENGLISH :  Sarawak banana.

Musa campestris Becc.

ENGLISH :   Borneo swamp banana, Borneo wild banana.

Musa campestris Becc. var. campestris

SYNONYM(S) :   Musa campestris Becc. subsp. campestris  

Borneo swamp banana.

Musa campestris Becc. var. lawasensis Häkkinen

Lawas swamp banana, White-fruited swamp banana.

Musa campestris Becc. var. limbangensis Häkkinen

Limbang swamp banana.

Most varieties in this species have some ornamental value but the two forms / cultivars "Dark" and "Light", referring to the light pink to dark pink striations on the white fruits, deserve a special mention. The company Rare Palm Seeds displays photos of both.

Musa campestris Becc. var. limbangensis Häkkinen 'Dark'

Dark candy-striped Limbang swamp banana.

Musa campestris Becc. var. limbangensis Häkkinen  'Light'

Light candy-striped Limbang swamp banana.

Musa campestris Becc. var. miriensis Häkkinen

Miri swamp banana.

Musa campestris Becc. var. sabahensis Häkkinen

ENGLISH :  Sabah swamp banana.

Musa campestris Becc. var. sarawakensis Häkkinen

Kuching swamp banana, Sarawak swamp banana.

Musa campestris Becc. subsp. glabra Hotta  ->  obsolete name.

Musa charlioi W.Hill     ->  Musa banksii F. Muell.

Musa cheesmanii Simmonds  

ENGLISH :  Assamese banana, Cheesman's banana.

FRENCH :  Bananier de Cheesman, Bananier de l'Inde.

RUSSIAN :  Банан Чесмана.

Musa coccinea Andrews

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa coccinia Andrews, orth. var. , Musa uranoscopos auct., nom. dub., Musa uranoscopos Lour., non Colla ?

CHINESE: Ba jiao hong, Hong jiao, 紅 蕉  Hong jiao (Hong Kong, Taiwan),   Ye jiao, Xiao ba jiao, Mi-jên chiao (Taiwan).

ENGLISH :  Flowering banana, Okinawa banana flower, Red flowering banana, Scarlet-flowered banana, Thai red banana.

GERMAN :  Scharlachrote Banane.

JAPANESE :   ビジンショウ Bijinshou (as M. uranoscopos),  美人蕉  Bijinshou,   ヒメバショウ Hime bashou (as M. uranoscopos),  姫芭蕉  Hime bashou.

PORTUGUESE :  Bananeira-florida (Brazil), Bananeira-vermelha (Brazil).

RUSSIAN :  Банан ярко-красный.

VIETNAMESE :  Chuối sen, Chuối tau. 

Musa chiliocarpa Backer -> Musa acuminata x balbisiana Colla (AAB Group) cv. 'Pisang Seribu'

Musa corniculata Lour. -> ? (IPNI)
Musa corniculata Kurz -> Musa acuminata Colla (IPNI)
Musa discolor hort. ex Horan -> Musa acuminata x balbisiana Colla (AAB Group) cv. 'Popoulu'
Musa errans (Blanco) sensu Teodoro   ->  Musa balbisiana Colla (but possibly including Musa acuminata Colla subsp. errans (Blanco) R. V. Valmayor)

Musa fehi Bert. ex Vieill.

FRENCH :  Daak (New Caledonia).

This taxon is in fact a synonym of an unknown type of Fe‘i’ banana. Taxonomically speaking the Fe‘i’ bananas are a poorly understood mixed bag of cultivated bananas from the Pacific region.

Musa fitzalanii F. Muell.

SYNONYM(S): Musa fitzalani F.Muell., Musa fitzalanii von Muell. 

ENGLISH :  Australian banana, Fitzalan's banana, Daintree's River banana (Australia).

 (possibly extinct)

Musa formosana Hayata -> Musa textilis Née. var. tashiroi Hayata

Musa formosana (Warb. ex Schum.) T. Hayata  ->  Musa basjoo (Sieb.) Iinuma ex Baker var. formosana (Warb. ex Schum.) S. S. Ying

Musa gracilis Holttum ex Cheesman

ENGLISH :  Magenta-green-striped fruit banana, Variegated fruit Malaysian banana.

FRENCH :  Bananier de Siam aux fruits panachés.

THAI :  กล้วยป่าชนิด  Kluai bpaa cha nit, กล้วยเลือด  Kluai leuat, กล้วย ทหารพราน  Kluai ta haan praan.

Musa halabanensis Meijer  ->  Musa acuminata Colla subsp. halabanensis (Meijer) M. Hotta

Musa ingens Simmonds

ENGLISH :  New Guinea banana.

RUSSIAN :  Банан огромный.

Musa insularimontana Hayata

CHINESE : 蘭嶼芭蕉   (Taiwan).

Musa itinerans Cheesman

BURMESE :     Taw-nget-pyaw (tau: nghak-pyau:).

CHINESE :    阿宽蕉 A kuan jiao,       Hei ba jiao.

ENGLISH :  Ang Khang wild banana, Banana Ang Khang, Rhizomatic banana, Wild banana.

JAPANESE :  ムサ・イティネランス   Musa itineransu.

THAI :  กล้วยอ่างขาง  Kluai aang kaang, กล้วยป่าอ่างขาง  Kluai bpaa aang kaang, กล้วยแดง   Kluai daeng, กล้วย หก  Kluai hok.

Musa jackeyi W. Hill

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa hillii F.Muell. , Musa hillii von Muell.

ENGLISH :  Australian banana,  Johnstone River banana (Australia).

Musa laterita Cheesman

BURMESE :     Taw-nget-pyaw (tau: nghak-pyau:).

ENGLISH :  Indian dwarf banana, Ornamental banana.

JAPANESE :  ムサ・リタ  Musa raterita.

THAI :   กล้วยบัว  Kluai bua,  กล้วยบัวสีส้ม  Kluai bua see som .

Musa maclayi F. Muell. ex Mikl.-Maclay

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa maclayi von Muell. ex Mikl.-Maclay

ENGLISH :  Maclay's banana, New Guinea wild banana, Solomon Islands wild banana.

RUSSIAN : Банан Маклая  Banan Maklaia.

Musa maclayi F.Muell. subsp. ailuluai Argent

Musa maclayi F. Muell. subsp. maclayi Argent var. erecta Argent

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa erecta Simmmonds, Musa maclayi F. Muell. var. erecta (N.W.Simmonds) Argent

Musa maclayi F. Muell. subsp. maclayi Argent var. namatani Argent

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa maclayi F. Muell. var. namatani Argent

Musa maculata Jacq.

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa (AA group) 'Maculata', Musa x maculata Jacq.,  Musa x paradisiaca L. 'Maculata'

FRENCH : Banane épicée de l'Île Maurice.

Musa malaccensis Ridley -> Musa acuminata Colla subsp. malaccensis (Ridl.) N.W.Simmonds

Musa mannii Wendl. ex Baker

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa mannii Hook. f. 
ENGLISH :  Assam ornamental banana, Mannii, Dwarf banana.

JAPANESE :  ムサ・マンニイ     Musa mannii.

RUSSIAN :  Банан Манна.

Musa martinii hort. ex Carrière

SYNONYM(S) : Musa martinii R. de Noter

CHINESE:  Awaiting feedback.

ENGLISH: Small banana.

FRENCH: Petite banane des Îles Canaries.

VIETNAMESE:  Awaiting feedback.

Musa minor Nakai

Musa nagensium Prain 

THAI :  กล้วย เข็ม   Kluai kem.

Musa nana auct. div. non Lour.

Musa ornata Roxb.

SYNONYM(S) :   Musa ornata Roxb. var. normalis Kuntze, Musa violacea Hort., nom. illeg. 

BURMESE :     Taw-nget-pyaw (tau: nghak-pyau:).

DUTCH :  Sierbanaan.

ENGLISH :  Bangladesh banana, Bronze banana, Ornamental banana, Flowering banana.

FRENCH : Bananier d'ornement.

GERMAN :   Gartenbanane, Schmuck-Banane, Zierbanane, Zier-Banane.

ITALIAN :  Banano ornamentale.

JAPANESE :  ムサ・オルナータ Musa orunaata, サオトメショウ Saotome bashou,  早乙女蕉   Saotome bashou.

PORTUGUESE :  Banana-de-jardim, Banana-roxa, Bananeira ornamental.  

RUSSIAN :  Банан лавандовый.

SPANISH :  Banana rosa , Bananera ornamental, Banano de jardín.

THAI :  กล้วยบัว   Kluai bua กล้วยบัวสีชมพู  Kluai bua si chom phu.

VIETNAMESE :   Chuối cảnh, Chuối kiểng đỏ.

Musa ornata Roxb. 'African Red'
Musa ornata Roxb. 'Bronze'
Musa ornata Roxb. 'Lavender Beauty'
Musa ornata Roxb. 'Leyte White'
Musa ornata Roxb. 'Milky Way'
Musa ornata Roxb. 'Royal Blue'
Musa ornata Roxb. 'Royal Burgundy'
Musa ornata Roxb. var. normalis Kuntze   ->  Musa ornata Roxb.

Musa paracoccinea A.Z. Liu. & D.Z. Li   

VIETNAMESE :   Chuối hoa rừng.


Musa paradisiaca L.

ARABIC :   الموز النشوي .

BURMESE :     (tau: nghak-pyau:)  Taw nget byaw.

ENGLISH :  Cooking banana, Culinary banana, Firm-fleshed banana, Plantain.

FRENCH :  Banane à cuire.

GERMAN :  Gemüsebanane, Kochbanane, Mehlbanane, Pisangfeige.

PORTUGUESE :  Banana-da-terra (Brazil).

SPANISH :  Barraganete (Argentina), Plátano (Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela), Plátano macho (Mexico), Plátano maduro (ripe), Plátano verde (green-unripe), Plataneiro.

This is the "father" of all European banana names. It has lost its relevance today due to the awareness of banana diversity throughout the world. Linnaeus gave this original name to an unspecified type of banana which in today's circumstances would be far too imprecise to meaningfully designate a specific banana.

Musa paradisiaca L. var. sapientum (L.) Kuntze -> Musa x paradisiaca L. ssp. sapientum (L.) Kuntze -> Musa acuminata x balbisiana Colla (AAB Group) cv. 'Silk Fig'

Musa peekelii Laut. 

Musa peekelii Laut. subsp. angustigemma (Simmonds) Argent

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa angustigemma Simmonds

Musa peekelii Laut. subsp. peekelii 

Musa rosacea Jacq.


This may well be a cultivar of the AAB group - not yet worked out

Musa rosea Jacq.

THAI :  กล้วยบัว   Kluai bua.

This is a taxon mostly found in Thai literature. Is it Musa rosacea ?  The common Thai name does not help because it is applied to at least 3 ornamental bananas and meaning "banana lotus" referring to the look of the flower.

Musa rubra Wall. ex Kurz

CHINESE :   阿西蕉 A xi jiao,   阿 希蕉  A xi jiao.

ENGLISH :  Red banana.

RUSSIAN :  Banan krasnyj.

Sometimes wrongly listed as a synonym of M. ornata.

Musa sakaiana Meekiong, Ipor & Tawan

ENGLISH :  Sakai Tagal's Borneo banana.

Musa salaccensis Zoll.

SYNONYM(S) : Musa salaccensis Zoll. ex Backer

ENGLISH : Javanese wild banana.

Musa sanguinea Hook. f.

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa × paradisiaca L. subsp. sapientum (L.) Kuntze var. sanguinea Welw.

CHINESE :  血红蕉 Xue hong jiao.

ENGLISH :  Indian banana, Ornamental banana.

FRENCH : Bananier ornemental.

JAPANESE :  ムサ・サングイネア  Musa sanguinea.

VIETNAMESE :  Chuối đỏ trồng, Chuối kiểng đỏ.

Musa sanguinea Welw. ex Baker  -> Musa x paradisiaca L. var. sanguinea Welw. ->  Musa (AAB group) 'Sanguinea'

Musa sapientum L.

ARABIC :   موز العقلاء .

BURMESE :     (tau: nghak-pyau:)  Taw nget byaw .

CHINESE : Da jiao, Fen ba jiao.

ENGLISH :  Dessert banana, Sweet-fruited banana.

FRENCH : Banane cultivée, Bananier des sages, Bananier commun.

GERMAN :  Adamsfeige, Dessertbanane, Jamaicabanane, Obstbanane.

ITALIAN: Banana comune, Banano comune, Fico d'Adamo.

JAPANESE : Banana.

LAOTIAN : Kwàyz khauz.

MALAY :  Biu (Bali), Cau (Sunda), Gedang (Java), Puti (Lampung), Kulo (Ambon), Pisang.

SPANISH :  Banana, Bananeira, Guineo, Plátano (Mexico).

TAGALOG : Saging.

TAMIL :    வாழை Vaazhai, வாழைபூ  Vaazhaipoo (flower).

TELUGU :  అరటి Arati,  అరటిపండు  Artipandu, కదళ  Kadala.
THAI :   กล้วย  Kluai.

This is the "mother" of all European banana names. It has lost its relevance today due to the awareness of banana diversity throughout the world. Linnaeus gave this original name to an unspecified type of banana which in today's circumstances would be far too imprecise to meaningfully designate a specific banana.

Musa sapientum L. var. champa Baker -> Musa acuminata x balbisiana Colla (AAB Group) 'Mysore'
Musa sapientum L. var. rubra (Firm.) Baker -> Musa acuminata Colla (AAA Group) 'Red Dacca'

Musa seemanii von Muell.

ENGLISH :  Fiji Fe‘i’ banana.

This taxon, like Musa fehi Bert. ex Vieill., is in fact a synonym of an unknown type of Fe‘i’ banana. Taxonomically speaking the Fe‘i’ bananas are a poorly understood mixed bag of cultivated bananas from the Pacific region.

Musa sikkimensis Kurz 

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa hookeri (King ex K. Schum.) Cowan & Cowan

ENGLISH :  Darjeeling banana.

FRENCH :  Bananier de l'Himalaya.

JAPANESE :  ダージリンバナナ  Daajirin banana.

Musa sikkimensis Kurz  'RedTiger'

ENGLISH :  Red-stripped leaf Darjeeling banana.

FRENCH :  Bananier de l'Himalaya au feuillage tigré de pourpre.

Musa sinensis Sagot ex Baker

Musa splendida A. Chev.

ASSAMESE :   Kaskol, Purakol.

ENGLISH :  Curry banana.

Musa textilis Née sensu Baker

BURMESE :   ( lhyau-ping).

CATALAN :  Abacà, Abacàs (plur.), Cànem de Manila.

CHINESE :   蕉麻  Jiao ma, 馬尼拉麻   Ma ni la ma  (Taiwan).

DANISH: Abaca, Manilahamp.

DUTCH: Abaca, Manillahennep.

ENGLISH: Manila hemp, Abaca, Abaca fibre.

FINNISH: Manilahamppu, Manilla-Hanf.

FRENCH:  Bananier à fibres, Chanvre de Manille.

GERMAN:  Faser-Banane, Manilahanf.

ITALIAN: Abaca, Canapa di Manila.

JAPANESE :  アバカ  Abaka,   マニラアサ  Manira asa, マニラ Manira asa,, マニラあさ Manira asa, マニライトバショウ  Manira ito bashou.

MALAYALAM :  Naaru vazhai.

POLISH : Banan manilski.

PORTUGUESE: Abacá, Cânhamo-de-Manila

RUSSIAN :  Абака  Abaka, Банан текстильный  Banan tekstil'nyj,  Manil'skaia konoplia.

SPANISH: Abacá, Cáñamo de Manila.

SWEDISH : Manillahampa.

TAGALOG :  Abacá, Maguindanao.

TAMIL :  Naaru vazhai.


Musa textilis Née var. amboinensis (Miq.) Baker

SYNONYM(S) : Musa amboinensis Miq.

Almost considered (not all agree) as a synonym of M. textilis.

Musa textilis Née var. liukiuensis (Matsum.) Matsum.

Musa textilis var. liukiuensis is considered by some as a synonym of Musa balbisiana var. liukiuensis (Matsum.) Häkkinen but others place M. liukiensis among the synonyms of M. balbisiana.

Musa textilis Née sensu Baker var. tashiroi Hayata

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa formosana Hayata

CHINESE :  田代氏芭蕉  Tian dai jing ba jiao  (Taiwan).

ENGLISH: Taiwan hemp.

FRENCH: Chanvre de Formose.

JAPANESE :  タシロイアサ ?  タシロイ麻  Tashiroi asa ?

Almost (not all agree) considered as a synonym of Musa insularimontana B. Hayata

田代氏  can be pronounced Tian Dai Jr Shr or Tien Tai Chih Shih in Taiwanese.

タシロイ is the correct transcription for "tashiroi" but so far we have not been able to find any other meaningful Japanese word associated with both this name and  Musa textilis.

Musa textilis Née var. textilis

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa mindanensis Rumph. ex Miq.

Musa thomsonii (King ex Baker) A. M. Cowan & J. Cowan

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa paradisiaca L. subsp. seminifera Lour. var. thomsonii G. King ex K. Schum., Musa thompsoni King ex A. Cowan & J. Cowan,   Musa thomsonii (King ex K. Schum.) A. Cowan & J. Cowan

Musa troglodytarum L.

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa fei Bert. ex Nadéaud,  Musa x paradisiaca L. var. dorsata G.Forst.,  Musa x paradisiaca L. subsp. troglodytarum (L.) K.Schum., Musa seemannii F.Muell., Musa troglodytarum L. var. acutibracteata MacDan., Musa uranoscopos auct., nom. illeg., Musa uranoscopus Rumph., non Lour.

ENGLISH :  Fehi banana, Fe'i banana, Mountain banana, Mountain plantain, "Hawaiian banana" ?, "Hawaiian ornamental banana" ?

FRENCH :  Banane plantain de montagne, Bananier de Polynésie, Bananier de Tahiti, Daak (New Caledonia), Fe'i (Tahiti), Fei de Tahiti, Hu'etu (îles Marquise), Uatu (Polynesian).

JAPANESE :  ボラボラバナナ  Borabora banana,  フェイバナナ  Fei banana.

MALAY :  Pisang tongkat langit (Indonesia), Pisang tongkat langit papua (Irian Jaya).

This taxon, like Musa fehi Bert. ex Vieill., is in fact a synonym of an unknown type of Fe‘i’ banana. Taxonomically speaking the Fe‘i’ bananas are a poorly understood mixed bag of cultivated bananas from the Pacific region.

Musa uranoscopos Seem.

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa uranoscopos Colla, nom. illeg., Musa uranoscopos Lour.

CHINESE :  紅蕉  Hong jiao (as M. uranoscopos Lour. - Taiwan).

ENGLISH :  Scarlet-flowered banana.

This specific name and its two synonyms are very uncertain.

Musa ventricosa Welw. ->   Musa ensete J. F. Gmel.

Musa velutina H. Wendl. & Drude

SYNONYM(S) :  Musa dasycarpa Kurz

BURMESE :     Taw-nget-pyaw (tau: nghak-pyau:).

ENGLISH :   Assam banana, Baby pink banana, Fuzzy banana, Hairy banana, Ornamental red banana, Pink banana, Pink velvet banana, Red Thai banana, Self-peeling banana, Velvet pink banana.

FRENCH :  Bananier à fleurs roses, Bananier de l'Inde à petits fruits rose.

GERMAN :  Kenia-Banane.

GREEK :  Καλλωπιστικά μπανάνα.

ITALIAN :  Banana rosa.

JAPANESE :   ピンクバナナ   Binku banana, ベルチナバナナ Beruchina banana,   ベルティナバナナ   Berutina banana, ム サ・ ベルティナ Musa berutina.

PORTUGUESE :  Bananeira-de-jardim (Brazil), Bananeira-ornamental  (Brazil).

RUSSIAN :  Банан бархатный.

THAI :  กล้วยรุ่งอรุณ Kluai rung a run.

Musa violascens Ridl. 

ENGLISH :  Malaya seeded banana.

MALAY :  Tok.

Musella lasiocarpa (Franch.) C. Y. Wu ex H. W. Li

SYNONYM(S) :  Ensete lasiocarpum (Franch.) Cheesman, Musa lasiocarpa Franch. , Musella splendida R. V. Valmayor & L. D. Danh

CHINESE :   地涌金莲  Di yong jin lian.

ENGLISH :  Chinese dwarf banana, Golden lotus banana, Rough hairy-fruited banana.

FRENCH :  Bananier sacré des Bouddhas , Bananier nain de Chine.

GERMAN :  Golden Lotus Banane, Yunnan-Zwergbanane.

JAPANESE : ムセラ・ラシオカルパ  Musera rashiokarupa,  チヨウキンレン,  チユウキンレン  , チャイニーズイエローバナナ

Банан шершавоплодный    Banan shershavoplodnyj.

กล้วยบัวทอง  Kluai bua tong, กล้วยคุณหมิง  Kluai khoon ming (as M. splendida).

General Bibliography
Specific & complementary


Biodiversity International, 2006, Genomic DNA Samples From Reference Accessions list. Global Musa Genomics Consortium (GMGC ). < >.

Biodiversity International, 2011, New address: < >.

Constantine David, 2000, An Annotated List of the Species of Ensete, Musa & Musella - List of Published Species. < >.

Constantine David R. , 2008,  An annotated list of the species of Ensete, Musa and Musella.  < >, < >. Taxonomy

Crane J.H. & Balerdi C.F. 1998, The Banana in Florida, Dept. of Horticultural Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. <>, Florida Agricultural Information Retrieval System <>, Banana Cultivars & Ploidy Levels <>

Daniells Jeff. et al. 2001, Musalogue -  A Catalogue of Musa Germplasm. International Plant Genetic Resources Institute. INIBAP ISBN: 2-910810-42-9.

Espino R.R.C., Jamaluddin S.H., Bechamas Silayoi & Nasution R.E., 1991, Musa L. (Edible Cultivars) In Verheij E.W.M. & Coronel R.E. (Editors) : Plant Resources of South-East Asia N°2 . Edible Fruits and Nuts. Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen. pp 225 - 233.

Lists of Philippine Herbal Medicinal Plants, 2010,    < >.  Tagalog

Morton Julia F. 1987, updated 1998, The Banana. Introduction, Variety names & Descriptions. A reprint of Morton J.F. 1987, Banana, in Fruits of Warm Climates, pp 29 - 46. With updates. Provided by New Crops, Purdue University.

Nasution R.E., 1993, Musa L. In Siemonsma J.S. & Kasem Piluek (Editors) : Plant Resources of South-East Asia N°8 . Vegetables. Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen. pp 215 - 217.

oNLINE 植物アルバム  2002 - 2010, Online Botanical Database, Miyakyo University - Japan.  < >. Japanese.

Ploetz Randy C. et al., 2007. Banana and plantain—an overview with emphasis on Pacific island cultivars, ver. 1. In: Elevitch, C.R. (ed.). Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry. Permanent Agriculture Resources (PAR), Hōlualoa, Hawai‘i. <>.

Rossel Gerda, 2001, Musella lasiocarpa in The genus Musella - an annotated list of species by Constantine David. < >

Simmonds N.W., 1959, Bananas, Longmans, Green & Co. Ltd. London, U.K.

Smithsonian Institution, 2011,  A Checklist of the Trees, Shrubs, Herbs, and Climbers of Myanmar, with  Contributions from the United States National Herbarium. Volume 45: 1-590. 2003National Museum of Natural History - Dept. of Botany.  < >. Burmese transliterated

Stover R.H. & Simmonds N.W., 1987, (Third Edition), Bananas, Longman Scientific & Technical U.K. Copublished in USA with John Wiley & Sons New York.

Takashi Enomoto, 2000, Wild Plants of Japan. Okayama University, Japan. < >.

The Plant List, 2010. A Working list of all plant species. Version 1, released in December 2010. Collaborative project by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden. < >.

U Kyaw Tun, U Pe Than et al. 2006, Myanmar Medicinal Plant Database. < >. Burmese

USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. URL :   (20 February 2011).  Taxonomy

Valmayor R.V. & Wagih M.E., 1996, Musa L. (Plantain and Cooking Banana). In Flach M. & Rumawas F. (Editors) : Plant Resources of South-East Asia N°9 . Plants yielding non-seed carbohydrates. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden. pp 126 - 131.

Valmayor Ramón V. et al. 2000, Banana cultivar names and synonyms in Southeast Asia -  International Network for Improvement of Banana and Plantain. Asia and the Pacific Office.  < >.

Wu Te-lin, 1997, Notes on the Lowiaceae, Musaceae, and Zingiberaceae for the Flora of China. Novon. Vol. 7, No. 4 (Winter, 1997), pp. 440-442.  Published by: Missouri Botanical Garden Press.
Stable URL:



A simple introduction to cultivated bananas. On Marco Bleeker's Site <>

FAO provides a World List of Seed Sources and Plant Genetic Resources via a searching tool. An example can be generated by typing the words "banana" and "Thailand" in the two relevant windows of the form provided. The only drawback is that very few of the seed companies or organisations mentioned have a www presence or if they do they are are simply not linked.

Plantamerica Database, PLANT-LINK. A URL searching tool spanning 8 of the best known general search engines, such as Alta Vista, for plant related web sites. You initiate one search - you get 8 sets of results in the same amount of time it would take for 1.

A Thai medicinal site in Thai (special software required to read script). Section on Musa. <>

Australian Government, 2008,  The Biology of Musa L. (banana). Dept. of Health & Ageing - Office of the Gene Technology Regulator. File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat.
<$FILE/biologybanana08.pdf >. A long list of references, many with links.

PLANTAINS (Plantain Subgroup) or (Plantain Group) or (AAB Group)

Although "banana" is commonly used as a collective term for both plantains and dessert bananas, both of the same species Musa, in the English-speaking world they are generally treated differently in terms of use. It is not so clearly defined in some other languages. Nevertheless whilst the names may vary around the world, the culinary uses revolve around these definitions: a "plantain" is defined as a banana that is cooked rather than eaten raw and has about 65% moisture content. Dessert bananas are eaten raw and have about 83% moisture content.

Some plantains of the FRENCH PLANTAIN TYPE

Some plantains of the HORN PLANTAIN TYPE

'Black French' (Trinidad)

'Banana Pacova' (Brazil)

'Giant Plantain' (Trinidad)

'Banane Corne' (West Indies)

'Green French' (Trinidad)

'Dominico Gigante' (Colombia)

'Kaali Eththan' (India)

'Harton' (Colombia) / 'Platano Comun' (P.Rico)

'Kaleththan' (India)

'Kluai ngar chang' (Thailand)

'Madre del Platanar' (Colombia) / 'Maqueño'

'Liberal' (Colombia)

'Pink French' (Trinidad)

'Moongil' (Southern India)

'Tiger' (Jamaica)

'Pisang Tandok' (Malaysia)

'Wine Plantain' (Trinidad)

'Platano Macho' (Mexico)


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