Musa balbisiana

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Musa balbisiana
Kluay Tani26.JPG
The wild banana plant
Inside a wild-type banana.jpg
The fruit of M. balbisiana, showing numerous seeds
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Musaceae
Genus: Musa
Species: M. balbisiana
Binomial name
Musa balbisiana
Colla 1820
Banana ancestors (Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana) original range.png
Original native ranges of the ancestors of modern edible bananas: M. acuminata is shown in green and M. balbisiana in orange.[1]
  • M. bakeri Hook.f.
  • M. brachycarpa Backer
  • M. dechangensis J.L.Liu & M.G.Liu
  • M. liukiuensis (Matsum.) Makino ex Kuroiwa
  • M. × paradisiaca var. granulosa G.Forst.
  • M. pruinosa (King ex Baker) Burkill
  • M. × sapientum var. pruinosa (King ex Baker) A.M.Cowan & Cowan

Musa balbisiana is a species of wild banana native to eastern South Asia, northern Southeast Asia, and southern China. It is one of the ancestors of modern cultivated bananas, along with Musa acuminata. It grows lush leaves in clumps with a more upright habit than most cultivated bananas. Flowers grow in inflorescences coloured red to maroon. The fruit are between blue and green. They are considered inedible because of the seeds they contain. It may be assumed that wild bananas used to be cooked and eaten or agriculturalists would not have developed the cultivated banana.[3] Seeded Musa balbisiana fruit are called butuhan ('with seeds') in the Philippines.[4] Natural parthenocarpic clones occur through polyploidy and produce edible bananas, examples of which are wild saba bananas.[5]

They were first described in 1820 by the Italian botanist Luigi Aloysius Colla.[6]

The leaves of this banana variety are used in Thailand to wrap locally produced sweets, and the inflorescences for the treatment of ulcers in traditional medicine.[7]

Mythology and tradition[edit]

Wild banana plants are known in Thai as kluai tani (กล้วยตานี). In Thai folklore, banana plants may be inhabited by a spirit, Nang Tani (Thai: นางตานี), a type of ghost related to trees and similar plants, which manifests itself as a young woman.[8] Often, people tie a length of colored satin cloth around the pseudostem of the banana plant.[9]

The stalk of Musa balbisiana is used in Thai ceremonial carvings.[citation needed] Such carvings are used as hair ornaments for children to ward off illness and evil,[citation needed] and in funeral rites where they decorate the funeral pyre.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Edmond de Langhe & Pierre de Maret (2004). "Tracking the banana: its significance in early agriculture". In Jon G. Hather. The Prehistory of Food: Appetites for Change. Routledge. p. 372. ISBN 978-0-203-20338-5. 
  2. ^ "Build checklist for Musa". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2013-01-22. 
  3. ^ Musa balbisiana[dead link]
  4. ^ "Progenitors of Edible Bananas". Guide to Growing Bananas, 11/01/2010. Retrieved 12 January 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Michel H. Porcher; Prof. Snow Barlow (2002-07-19). "Sorting Musa names". The University of Melbourne, [1]. Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Musa paradisiaca". 
  7. ^ Plant use in Southern Thailand
  8. ^ "Banana Plant Prai Lady Ghost". 2012-03-19. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  9. ^ "Spirits". Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  10. ^ "Traditional Thai Crafts In Phetchaburi". Thailand Breeze. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 

External links[edit]