What Is A Banana & What Types Of Bananas Are There?
A banana is an edible fruit – botanically a berry – produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa.
The fruits grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. Almost all modern edible seedless (parthenocarp) bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana.
Banana consists of potassium which is an essential mineral to maintain proper heart function and controls the blood pressure levels. Potassium content in bananas also benefits your kidney and bones. Increased potassium intake is important because of its vasodilation effects, it suppresses the calcium excretion in urine, and it prevents kidney stones.
Originally, bananas were classified into two species based only on their uses as food: Musa paradisiaca for plantains and Musa sapientum for dessert bananas. Both are now known to be hybrids between the species Musa acuminata (A genome) and Musa balbisiana (B genome).
The earlier published name, Musa × paradisiaca, is now used as the scientific name for all such hybrids.
Most modern plantains are sterile triploids belonging to the AAB Group, sometimes known as the “Plantain group”. Other economically important cooking banana groups include the East African Highland bananas (Mutika/Lujugira subgroup) of the AAA Group and the Pacific plantains (including the Popoulo, Maoli, and Iholena subgroups), also of the AAB Group.
In some countries, bananas used for cooking may be called “plantains”, distinguishing them from dessert bananas. The fruit is variable in size, color, and firmness, but is usually elongated and curved, with soft flesh rich in starch covered with a rind, which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe.
The term “banana” is also used as the common name for the plants that produce the fruit. This can extend to other members of the genus Musa, such as the scarlet banana (Musa coccinea), the pink banana (Musa velutina), and the Fe’i bananas. It can also refer to members of the genus Ensete, such as the snow banana (Ensete glaucum) and the economically important false banana (Ensete ventricosum). Both genera are in the banana family, Musaceae.Linn
The most popular type of banana is the large, yellow, smooth-skinned variety of sweet banana. This banana Musa sapienta varies in size and color and is usually eaten raw.
The larger, green bananas are known as plantains. Plantain bananas are prepared in a similar way to vegetables in that they are usually cooked or fried. Unripe bananas have a higher starch content. As they ripen, the starch is converted to sugar (and the fruit becomes sweeter). Green bananas are also a good source of pectin, which is a type of dietary fiber found in fruits and helps them keep their structural form.