Musa acuminata

Musa acuminata at a glance











Musa acuminata

Musapedia pages on subspecies

Musa acuminata is a wild species of banana best known for being at the origin of the vast majority of cultivated bananas, by itself or through hybridization with Musa balbisiana. It donated the so-called A genome found in the cultivated bananas that have the following genomic formulae: AA, AB, AAA, AAB and ABB.

Musa acuminata is diploid, that is it has two sets of chromosomes. The basic chromosome number is 11. In other words, the species' genes are distributed over 11 pairs of chromosomes.

A doubled haploid derived from an acuminata subspecies was used to sequence the acuminata genome[1].


According to the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants[2], the epithet of the first subspecies to be described should repeat the species epithet. Musa acuminata ssp. acuminata was created by default when the first named subspecies of Musa acuminata (ssp. banksii[3]) was established by Normand Simmonds in 1956[4]. Simmonds neglected to typify it as subspecies acuminata.

Although no author is cited, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families considers Musa acuminata ssp. acuminata to be an accepted name, in addition to listing several synonyms[5].

At least four subspecies (banksii, zebrina, malaccensis and burmannica) have been confirmed to be involved in the domestication of the banana[6].


Distribution of subspecies of Musa acuminata in southeast Asia. Source Perrier et al. 2011


3. Simmonds, N.W. 1956. Botanical results of the banana collecting expedition, 1954-5. Kew Bulletin 11(3):463-489.
4. Musa acuminata ssp. acuminata in Musa, An annotated list of the species of Musa by David Constantine.
5. Musa acuminata ssp. acuminata in the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
6. Perrier, X., Bakry, F., Carreel, F., Jenny, C., Horry, J.P., Lebot, V. and Hippolyte, I. 2009. Combining biological approaches to shed light on the evolution of edible bananas. Ethnobotany Research and Applications 7:199-216.

Further reading

Special issue on the history of banana domestication in Ethnobotany Research & Applications.

Also on this website

Search for photos of Musa acuminata in the Musarama image bank
Musapedia pages on subspecies of Musa acuminata
Musapedia pages on wild banana species
Contributors to this page: Anne Vézina .
Page last modified on Friday, 16 November 2018 12:35:01 CET by Anne Vézina.