BANANAS

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Ensete ventricosum (abyssinian banana) - A giant perennial with a trunk like pseudostem up to 36 feet tall being flushed purple and large, banana like leaves up to 18 feet long and 3 feet wide.  Zones 8 - 10.

Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii' (maurelii banana) - A spectacular form with all parts stained a reddish purple.  Very dramatic in the landscape!

Musa acuminata (giant sweet edible banana / edible banana / plantain) - Large, tropical looking plant to 20 feet tall with huge, 9 foot long leaves that are 2 feet wide.  The attractive inflorescence of green, yellow, red and purple leads to the production of many 5 inch long, bright yellow fruit.  This species is native to a large area including:  Burma to the Malay Peninsular and Archipelagos, New Guinea, Australia, Samoa, East Africa, southern India and the Philippines.  Hardy in zones 8 - 10.  As with all the bananas, planting in a protected area and mulching will help expand the hardiness rating.

Musa acuminata 'Grand Nain' - A very attractive, solid green banana up to 6 feet tall that is the producer of the famed "Chiquita" bananas.  These choice, edible fruit are seedless and of the highest quality.  They are borne in racemes weighing up to 50 pounds each.  This cultivar is wind resistant and was developed in Central America.

Musa acuminata 'Siam Ruby' - This rare and unusual banana is the latest, greatest banana around.  A wonderful foliage plant, this clone has beautiful reddish purple foliage intermittently striped and flecked with chartreuse-green.  Grows up to 8 feet tall and does best in full sun.  Zones 8 - 10.

Musa acuminata 'Super Dwarf Cavendish' - This clone matures at about 3 feet in height.  Even without the fruit, this plant makes an excellent tropical addition landscape either in the ground or as a container plant.  For our northern friends, this plant's size make it easy for anyone to haul it in during the winter months to protect it and ensure the best chance of fruit production the following year.

Musa acuminata 'Zebrina' (blood banana) - This ornamental clone has beautifully variegated leaves with lots of red-purple coloring.  It is originally from Java and grows to a height of 10 or more feet.  The pseudostem is completely red, the tops of the narrow leaves are green splotched with red and the undersides of the leaves are a deep wine color.  It has red flowers which are followed by inedible, seeded fruit.

Musa basjoo (hardy banana / japanese fiber banana) - Even up north you can grow tropical looking bananas thanks to this highly prized, extremely hardy, ornamental banana up to 15 feet tall with 10 foot long, shiny, green leaves and yellow flowers.  These are followed by 30 to 60 unpalatable bananas per bunch.  With proper mulching, this species can tolerate temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  Zones 8 - 10.

Musa ornata (flowering banana) - This is a widely cultivated and highly ornamental, dwarf banana to 9 feet tall with 6 foot long leaves that are up to 14 inches wide.  The showy flowers bracts are a pale pink tipped with yellow and the flowers are yellow-orange.  The species is probably native from eastern Pakistan to Burma.  Zones 8 - 10.

Musa 'Rojo' - A very colorful, dwarf form of red and green banana of unknown origin.  It may be a hybrid involving Musa acuminata but then again, it may not.  The leaves are broader than those of Musa acuminata 'Zebrina'.

Musa velutina (pink fruited banana) - This species gets to about 5 feet tall and has 3 foot long leaves.  These leaves are green above and bronzy beneath.  The velvety, pink fruit make this fast growing species very ornamental.  It also has upright, pink bracts from which emerge showy, orange flowers.  This native of Assam in northeastern India is hardy in zones 8 - 10.