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Banana, Musa sp. / Musaceae
The main types of this fruit are distinguished for their use, size, shape and colour. The most common varieties belong to the Cavendish Series.

Some names of varieties are, for example, Cavendish, Gros Michel or Valery, although commercially they are known with other names that correspond to the brand of great multinationals (Chiquita, Turbana, Fyffes, Geest, Dole, Del Monte, etc.).

The banana trees have been cultivated in all the tropical countries, but the great majority comes from South America and Central America. Only some special varieties, like Arroz and Manzano, come from Southeast Asia.

The main varieties or cultivars belong to the Sub-group or Cavendish series and are Pequeña Enana, Gran Enana and Williams, although there also exist Chinese Cavendish or Chica. Besides, some Israeli cultivars like GAL, Zelik, Eilan and Nathan may be interesting for the subtropical areas.

The main banana producers are the countries of South America, Central America and Asia . In Europe, Spain is the main producer (Canary Islands).

Colombia, in South America, is the greater banana producer, being Musa paradisiaca, Gros Michel and Pátano Enano the most commonly known cultivars. In the second place we find Brazil, that produces " Musa paradisiaca and "Lacatan".

In Costa Rica, the most important commercial cultivars are Gran Enano, Valery (Magazine ASBANA, V.13, No 31 - 1989).

In Asia, ‘Plátano Rojo‘, ‘Plátano Enano‘ , ‘Plátano Manzano’ and ‘Plátano Arroz’.

In Europe, the main banana producer is Spain. The ‘Plátano Enano’ is cultivated in the Canary Islands.

Some varieties of bananas are:

‘Gros Michel’
One of the first varieties cultivated for export that istill produced in Colombia and Ecuador, although it is being replaced by ‘Cavendish’. It is characterized for being a great and vigorous plant, with symmetrical and heavy clusters. Great size fruit, with a bottle shape and very homogenous maturation. The pods are intense green in the superior part and rosaceous in the inferior part.

‘Plátano enano or dominico’
Produced in the Canary Islands, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Kenya and Colombia. It measures from 10 to 12cm and it is a small variety whose flavour and sweetness are better than those of the normal banana.

‘Plátano guineo’
Native of Southeastern Asia, at the moment Brazil and Kenya export it all throughout the year. The fruit measures from 8 to 10cm, it has a very thin skin and a slight apple flavour.

‘Plátano macho’
Also called great banana or for cooking. Not very known in Europe, although in many tropical countries it is a basic food. It is used when green in different dishes, cooked, fried, grilled or for baby food, but not raw. It is usually bigger and with more bends than standard bananas. Green, yellow or purple colour.

‘Plátano rojo’
Rare variety from the Southeastern part of Asia; it is mainly consumed warm, because the heat accentuates the tasty qualities of the red flesh. It has a red, pink or mixed with green skin.

Sub-group or Cavendish Series:

‘Gran Enano or Giant Cavendish’
Greater fruit, greater weight and cylindrical, although shorter and more curved than those of the clone ‘Robusta’. Plant of low habit, thick pseudostem and wide foliar system.

‘Lacatan’
It is considered as a primitive type of ‘Cavendish’ from which all the other cultivars originated by mutation. The main producing countries are Brazil and Cameroun. The fruits are similar to ‘Valery’. High and vigorous plant, similar to ‘Gros Michel’.

‘Robusta’
Mainly exported from the Ivory Coast. Also named ‘Poyo’, this variety developed from ‘Cavendish’. Shorter fruit with a very sweet flavour.

‘Valery’
Great fruits but less cylindrical than those of ‘Gros Michel’. Sweet and consistent flavour. The name is registered as a brand.
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