Saturday, 11 October 2008


A small family of two genera (Musa and Ensete) In India only one genus Musa with 10 species occurring in the Himalayas western ghats and Assam.
Vegetative characters :
They are perennial large to gigantic herbs attaining a height upto 15 meters. They persist by means of underground rhizome.
The aerial pseudo stem which is usually tall, stout and unbranched is formed by imbricate,sheathing and stiff bases of the leaves. A short conical axis is concealed at the base of the shaft and its growth is terminated by the inflorescence. The axillary shoots provide new growth.
The leaves are spirally arranged, large and oval or oblong with a stout midrib and numerous parallel veins extending to the margins.
Inflorescence and flowers :
The plant produces a single terminal inflorescence which springs from the rhizome and emerges at the top of the pseudo stem.The flowers are arranged collaterally in racemes and are protected by large brightly coloured spathe like bracts.Flowers are mostly unisexual and the plants are monoecious with male flowers in upper bracts and female within the lower bracts.
They are zygomorphic, trimerous and epigynous. The perianth is of six members in two whorls of three each.There are six stamens.The gynoecium is tricarpellary and syncarpous with an inferior ovary. The style is filioform and the stigma is three lobed.
Fruits and seeds:
The fruit is a fleshy berry which does not produce any seeds in cultivated form of Musa.
The seeds have a thick and hard testa.
Pollination and seed dispersal :
Insects pollinate the flowers who visit for the nectar. Sometimes also by nectar seeking birds.Seeds are dispersed by animals.
Musa paradisiaca L. subsp. sapientum (Banana. Kela)
There are over 200 varities under cultivation.

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