Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red. In popular culture and commerce, “banana” usually refers to soft, sweet “dessert” bananas. Bananas from a group of cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called plantains.
They are native to tropical Southeast Asia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea.1 Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics.2 They are grown in at least 107 countries,3 primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber and as ornamental plants.
‘Cavendish’ bananas are the main commercial cultivar
Almost all export bananas are of the dessert types; however, only about 10–15% of production is for export. The United States and European Union are the dominant importers.
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