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Musa, commonly called as banana, is one of three genera in the family Musaceae. Musaceae contains bananas and plantains. There are numerous other vernacular names, given according to geographical region, for Bananas/Plaintains. These musas are one of the popular exotic flowers. Edible bananas have originated from Indo-Malaysian region reaching to northern Australia.
The flower stalks of Musas arise from the top of the pseudostem. Flower stalks of Musas are either erect or pendulous, comprising of numerous unisexual flowers borne within colorful broad bracts. The musas species flowers towards the ends of the spikes are male and those toward the base are female.
There is a no clear distinction between Bananas/Plaintains. In popular belief, banana usually refers to the soft, sweet dessert bananas that are usually eaten raw, the bananas from a group of cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit, generally used in cooking rather than eaten raw, are called as plantains.
The inflorescence of musas is a large, long-oval, tapering, purple-clad bud at the terminal spike. As the inflorescence opens there white flowers in clusters, which are nectar rich, and toothed. Each inflorescence is covered by a thick, waxy, hoodlike bract, purple outside, deep-red within. There are 3 types of flowers, female(occupy lower rows), neutral(above rows), and male flowers(occupy upper rows).
As the young musa fruits develop from the female flowers, they look like slender green fingers. The bracts are soon shed and the fully grown fruits in each cluster become a hand of bananas, and the stalk droops with the weight until the bunch is upside down. The number of hands varies with the species and variety.