Diversity of banana cultivars

There is more to the banana than the Cavendish banana that was plucked from obscurity in the 1950s to become the export industry standard. The number of banana cultivars is hard to pin down. It used to be estimated at 500 or so[1][2], but it has also been suggested that it could be twice as many.

This portal is part of an on-going effort to document the diversity of cultivars and clarify their taxonomy. The Musapedia pages on edible bananas table lists the cultivars and improved materials that currently have a page, while the table on the taxonomy of edible bananas does the same for the groups and subgroups. This classification is based on the nomenclature system developed by Simmonds and Shepherd.

If you want to contribute to a diversity-related page that doesn't exist, contact us and we will add it to the list. You can also consult the banana cultivar checklist, whose goal is to list the various vernacular names given to banana cultivars and identify which ones are synonyms (different names that refer to the same clone) and homonyms (similar names that refer to different clones).

If you are wondering why this portal is not called the diversity of bananas and plantains, check out our take on the question.



1. Stover, R.H. and Simmonds, N.W. 1987. Bananas. 3 ed., Tropical Agricultural Series. Longman, New York (USA). 468p.
2. Perrier, X. and Tézenas du Montcel, H. 1990. Musaid : a computerized determination system. p.76-91. In: Jarret, R. (ed.). Proceedings of Identification of Genetic Diversity in the genus Musa, Los Banos (PHL), 1988/09/05-10. Identification of Genetic diversity in the genus Musa: Proceedings of an International Workshop. INIBAP, Montpellier, France.

See also on this website

Where bananas come from in Under the peel, the blog of the ProMusa community, 7 October 2015