Info:Bananas Genera

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There have been numerous historical revisions of Musa sections and subsections, initially based on observable characteristics but later divided by chromosome count and morphology. English botanist Ernest Cheesman submitted the first useful system in 1947 by utilizing chromosome count and morphology, dividing them into Eumusa, Rhodochlamys, Australimusa, and Callimusa. Ingentimusa would be added later in 1976 by English botanist George Argent. The currently accepted convention was submitted in 2013 by Finnish botanist Markku Hakkinen, merging the previous 5 groups based on molecular and genetic analysis into Eumusa and Callimusa. However, the previous convention developed by Cheesman is still useful in understanding the relationships between different members of the Musa genus.




  • Eumusa is the group that most edible bananas fall within. Most edible bananas share a common ancestry with Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana, being domesticated through many generations of breeding, hybridization, chance mutations, and selection by humans for desirable traits. In this sense domesticated bananas are more like siblings to wild varieties, rather than being the offspring of extant wild, seeded types. Some seedless diploid cultivars exist, being seedless due to the previously described domestication processes. Most commercial cultivars are triploid (3n) with 3 sets of chromosomes, as this generally renders them (mostly) sterile and therefore seedless. This is due to a failure to divide chromosome pairs when cells divide to create gametes for reproduction. The double chromosomed gamete pairs with an opposing gamete (with a single set of chromosomes) to create an offspring with 3 sets. By this same failure in gamete production, professional breeding institutes (like Honduras Foundation for Agricultural Research, FHIA) have been able to create tetraploid (4n) cultivars by selective breeding of not completely sterile triploid cultivars.
  • Species within this group include but are not limited to:
    • Musa acuminata (includes AA and AAA)
    • Musa balbisiana
    • Musa basjoo
    • Musa sikkimensis
    • Musa schizocarpa
  • Hybrids (AAB, ABB, AABB, AAAB ABBB) with a mixed parentage of acuminata (A) and balbisiana (B) chromosomes are referred to as Musa x paradisiaca. There are hybrids that include chromosomes derived from Musa schizocarpa (AS, AAS), with some of them being collected and stored at the International Transit Centre (ITC) in Belgium.



  • Rhodochlamys consists primarily of species that are considered ornamental, as the fruits generally consist of mostly seeds.
  • Species within this group include but are not limited to:
    • Musa ornata
    • Musa velutina 'Fuzzy pink banana'
    • Musa mannii



2n=20 (2n=18 for Musa beccarii)

  • Species within this group include but are not limited to:
    • Musa coccinea
    • Musa gracilis
    • Musa campestris



  • From the Australimusa group, the species Musa troglodytarum refers to cultivars that have been independently domesticated by humans to be (mostly) seedless. These domesticated varieties are referred to as the Fe'i or Fehi subgroup. Notable characteristics include vivid purple sap when cut, erect bunches, and orange peels and flesh. There is interest among the scientific community in exploring the potential of Fe'i bananas as a food source for remote communities, as the orange flesh indicates a considerable amount of provitamin A content. These have not seen widespread distribution or adoption due to a number of factors limiting the ranges within which it can thrive.
  • Species within this group include but are not limited to:
    • Musa troglodytarum (T)
    • Musa textilis
    • Musa maclayi
    • Musa jackeyi



  • This group consists of a single species, Musa ingens. It is notable for being absurdly large, with initial descriptions being of specimens towering 15 m. tall.

Eumusa x Australimusa

There have been some recorded instances of possible hybrids (AT, AAT) being found that suggest crossing/interbreeding between Eumusa and Australimusa(/ Callimusa). Despite being improbable due to the difference in chromosome count, professional banana taxonomist Gabriel Sachter-Smith found a cultivar in Papua New Guinea that cannot yet be explained in any other way.



  • While in the Musaceae family and bearing more than a passing resemblance, the Ensete genus are not considered true bananas. Historically lumped in with the Musa genus, it was later separated into a standalone genus by Cheesman. While it does produce an inflorescence akin to a banana flower, the fruits are generally not considered edible. However, the species Ensete ventricosum is utilized as a staple crop in Ethiopia, where the starchy core of the plant is used for culinary purposes.



  • The Musella genus consists of a single member, Musella lasiocarpa. It was first included in the Musa genus, then moved to the newly sectioned off Ensete genus by Cheesman's revision. It was later given its own genus in 2010 after molecular testing confirmed it as being distinct from both the Musa and Ensete genera.


Häkkinen, M. 2013. Reappraisal of sectional taxonomy in Musa (Musaceae). Taxon 62(4):809-813.

Argent, G. 1976. The wild bananas of Papua New Guinea. Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh 35(1):77-114.

Cheesman, E.E. 1947. Classification of the bananas. I. The genus Ensete Horan. Kew Bulletin 2(2):97-106.

Zheng-Feng Wang, Mathieu Rouard, Gaetan Droc, Pat (J S) Heslop-Harrison, Xue-Jun Ge. 2023. Genome assembly of Musa beccarii shows extensive chromosomal rearrangements and genome expansion during evolution of Musaceae genomes, GigaScience, Volume 12, giad005,

Simmonds, N. W. 1960. Notes on Banana Taxonomy. Kew Bulletin, 14(2), 198–212.

Ruas, M., Guignon, V., Sempere, G., Sardos, J., Hueber, Y., Duvergey, H., et al. (2017). MGIS: managing banana (Musa spp.) genetic resources information and high-throughput genotyping data. Database (Oxford) 2017. doi:10.1093/database/bax046.

Li, Z., Wang, J., Fu, Y. et al. The Musa troglodytarum L. genome provides insights into the mechanism of non-climacteric behaviour and enrichment of carotenoids. BMC Biol 20, 186 (2022).

Vezina, A. 2021. Where banana diversity defies expectations.

Borrell, J. S., Biswas, M. K., Goodwin, M., Blomme, G., Schwarzacher, T., Heslop-Harrison, J. S. P., Wendawek, A. M., Berhanu, A., Kallow, S., Janssens, S., Molla, E. L., Davis, A. P., Woldeyes, F., Willis, K., Demissew, S., & Wilkin, P. (2019). Enset in Ethiopia: a poorly characterized but resilient starch staple. Annals of botany, 123(5), 747–766.

Liu, A-Z., Kress, W.J., Wang, H. & Li, D.-Z. (2010). Phylogenetic analyses of the banana family (Musaceae) based on nuclear ribosomal (ITS) and chloroplast ( trnL-F) evidence. Taxon 59: 20-28.