The Cavendish banana subgroup is named after the 'Dwarf Cavendish' cultivar within its subgroup, which is named in honour of William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire, who acquired an early specimen, and from whose hothouses the cultivars were first developed for commercial exploitation worldwide.
Cavendish cultivars are distinguished by height and features of the fruits, and different cultivars may be recognized as distinct by different authorities. The most important clones for fruit production include: 'Dwarf Cavendish', 'Grande Naine', 'Lacatan', 'Poyo', 'Valéry', and 'Williams' under one system of cultivar classification. Another classification includes: 'Double', 'Dwarf Cavendish', 'Extra Dwarf Cavendish', 'Grande Naine', 'Pisang Masak Hijau' ('Lacatan'), and 'Giant Cavendish' as a group of several difficult-to-distinguish cultivars (including 'Poyo', 'Robusta', 'Valéry', and 'Williams'). 'Grande Naine' is the most important clone in international trade, while 'Dwarf Cavendish' is the most widely grown clone. 'Grande Naine' is also known as the Chiquita banana. Over 250 local names are known for cultivars from the Cavendish subgroup
Cavendish bananas accounted for 47% of global banana production between 1998 and 2000, and the vast majority of bananas entering international trade.
The fruits of the Cavendish bananas are primarily eaten raw; however, they are also used in baking, fruit salads, fruit compotes, and as a complement to other foods. The outer skin is most often partially green when sold, and turns yellow when it ripens. As it ripens, the starches turn to sugar, making a sweeter fruit. When it reaches its final stage (stage 7), brown/black "sugar spots" develop. When overripe, the skin turns black and the flesh becomes mushy. Bananas ripen naturally until they are picked. Once picked, they no longer turn yellow on their own, and need to be gassed with ethylene to start up ripening again. Most retailers sell bananas in stages 3–6, with stage 4 being the most ideal.
^Persley, G. J.; George, Pamela (1996). "Portfolio of Projects". Banana Improvement: Research Challenge and Opportunity. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Publications. p. 29. ISBN0-8213-3740-8. "Viet Nam is one of the centers of origin of Musa spp., and has many species, varieties, and clones. ... The banana export trade is primarily based on local varieties of Cavendish cultivars, which originated in Vietnam"
^Porcher, Michel H.; Barlow, Snow (2002-07-19). "Sorting Musa names". The University of Melbourne. Retrieved 11 January 2011.