Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Banana, Musa sapientium, a handsome herbaceous monocotyledonous plant, long cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical countries for its fruit. The sheathing bases of the large, oblong, pinnate-veined leaves form a false stem 20 to 30 feet high. The spike of irregular flowers is succeeded by a branch of 100 to 200 fruits, weighing together from 50 to 80 pounds. The long, berry-like fruits, as they ripen, convert nearly all their starch into sugar and pectose, and form a valuable article of food, the staple food in many tropical countries, producing 44 times the weight of food per acre yielded by the potato. The importation of bananas has enormously increased of late years. The plantain (M. paradisiaca) is very closely related to the banana.