Musa paradisiaca

Musa paradisiaca


Musa paradisiaca is one of the Latin binomial names that was applied to edible bananas, but whose usage has been discouraged since the developement, in 1955, of an alternative nomenclature system to classify banana cultivars.

The name Musa paradisiaca was coined by Carl Linneaus, the father of modern taxonomy. Linneaus was familiar with only one type of banana: the first banana to flower in Europe, a specimen cultivated in George Clifford's glasshouse near Haarlem in the Netherlands. In 1736 he named it Musa Cliffortiana, which is technically a 'pre-Linnean' Linnean name. In Species Plantarum, which was published in 1753, he renamed it Musa paradisiaca, in reference to the forbidden fruit of paradise[1]. What Linneaus did not know is that Musa paradisiaca is not a species but a complex, and sterile, hybrid.

As the first banana to be described, Musa paradisiaca has long been considered the 'type species' for the genus Musa. The name also became associated with Plantain cultivars, and the much criticized usage of the word plantain as meaning something that is not covered by the word banana[2][3].


1. Häkkinen, M., Väre, H. and Christenhusz, M.J.M. 2012. Identity of a Pisang - historical concepts of Musa (Musaceae) and the reinstatement of Musa troglodytarum. Folia Malaysiana 13(2):1-14.
3. Slippery uses of banana statistics, published 26 March 2013 in the Under the Peel blog.

Related content

Musapedia page on the domestication of the banana
Navigate the taxonomy of edible bananas on the cultivar diversity portal

Banana cultivar checklist of local names and synonyms

Contributors to this page: Anne Vézina .
Page last modified on Thursday, 12 April 2018 09:37:34 CEST by Anne Vézina.