Musa acuminata

Musa acuminata at a glance











Musa acuminata

Musapedia pages on subspecies

Musa acuminata Colla1 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 genome2 .


According to the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants3 , the epithet of the first subspecies to be described should repeat the species epithet. According to David Constantine, Musa acuminata ssp. acuminata was created by default when Norman Simmonds published the Musa acuminata ssp. banksii name in 19564 because it was the first subspecies to be described5 . The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) considers Musa acuminata ssp. acuminata to be an accepted name, and lists several synonyms, even though no description of this subspecies exists6 .

The genetic signature of at least four subspecies (banksii, zebrina, malaccensis and burmannica) has been found in banana cultivars7 . Of these four subspecies, only Musa acuminata ssp malaccensis is an accepted name, according to the WCSP8 .


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


1 Colla L. A. 1820. Musa acuminata, page 394 in Memoria sul genere Musae monographia del medesimo. Memorie della Accademia delle Scienze di Torino 25:333-402.
2 D'Hont, A. et al. 2012. The banana (Musa acuminata) genome and the evolution of monocotyledonous plants. Nature 488(7410):213-217.
4 Simmonds, N.W. 1956. Botanical results of the banana collecting expedition, 1954-5. Kew Bulletin 11(3):463-489.
5 Musa acuminata ssp. acuminata in Musa, An annotated list of the species of Musa by David Constantine.
6 Musa acuminata ssp. acuminata in the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
7 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.
8 Musa acuminata subsp. malaccensis in the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

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