Skip to main content
Select Source:

banana

banana, name for several species of the genus Musa and for the fruits these produce. The banana plant—one of the largest herbaceous plants—is native to tropical Asia but now cultivated throughout the tropics. Used to a minor degree for its leaf fiber, the banana is of the same genus as the extremely valuable fiber plant Manila hemp, or abaca, and is also related to the bird-of-paradise flower. Along with the banana, these are economically the most important plants of the banana family (the Musaceae), a group of large monocotyledonous tropical herbs. The banana is of palmlike aspect and has very large leaves, the overlapping bases of which form the so-called false trunk. As the plant reaches maturity its true stem rises from the ground and pushes through the center of the false trunk to emerge from the top of the plant, there becoming pendent and bearing the male and female flowers. The female flowers develop into bananas, the clusters of upturned fruits being called "hands" and each banana a "finger." The plants are cut down to harvest the fruit, since they bear only once. Their seeds are sterile; shoots from the rhizomes are used for propagation. The banana fruit (botanically a berry) is a staple food in the tropics and is used in many forms, raw or cooked, and grown in many varieties; sweeter fruits are often known as bananas, and starchier ones as plantains. Dried bananas are eaten as "banana figs" and inferior fruits serve as a stock feed. Banana oil is a synthetic product, so named because of its odor. Although the banana has long been cultivated in Asia—Alexander the Great encountered it in India—the large international traffic began only in the late 19th cent. with the development of refrigerated transport. Bananas are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Zingiberales, family Musaceae.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"banana." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"banana." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/banana

"banana." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/banana

banana

banana Fruit of the genus Musa; cultivated kinds are sterile hybrids, and so cannot be given species names. Dessert bananas have a high sugar content (17–19%) and are eaten raw; plantains (sometimes known as green bananas) have a higher starch and lower sugar content and are picked when too hard to be eaten raw.

One medium banana (100 g) is a good source of vitamin A; a source of vitamins B6 and C, and copper; contains 0.3 g of fat, of which 33% is saturated; provides 3 g of dietary fibre; supplies 86 kcal (360 kJ). The sodium content is low (1.2 mg/100 g) so bananas are used in low‐sodium diets.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"banana." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"banana." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/banana

"banana." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/banana

banana

banana banana republic a small state dependent on foreign capital, typically as a result of the domination of the economy by a single trade, and hence politically unstable; the name was particularly used of Central American states which were heavily dependent on their fruit-exporting trade.
second banana the second most important person in an organization or activity. Originally (mid 20th century), US theatrical slang meaning the supporting comedian in a show. The expression top banana, meaning the most important person in an organization or activity, is of similar origin.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"banana." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"banana." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/banana

"banana." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/banana

banana

ba·nan·a / bəˈnanə/ • n. 1. a long curved fruit that grows in clusters and has soft pulpy flesh and yellow skin when ripe. 2. (also banana plant or banana tree) the tropical and subtropical treelike plant (genus Musa, family Musaceae) that bears this fruit, with very large leaves. 3. adj. (bananas) inf. insane or extremely silly: he's beginning to think I'm bananas. PHRASES: top banana inf. the most important person in an organization or activity.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"banana." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"banana." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/banana-1

"banana." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/banana-1

Musa

Musa (family Musaceae) A genus of giant, rhizomatous (see RHIZOME) herbs which have an erect pseudostem, formed from overlapping leaf bases, and terminal inflorescences. The flowers are unisexual, the males terminal and subtended by coloured bracts. The fruit is an elongate berry with many stony seeds (absent in the edible bananas). Musas are bat-pollinated. Cultivated bananas are hybrids, and triploid or tetraploid (see POLYPLOIDY). There are 35 species, occurring in the palaeotropics.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Musa." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Musa." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/musa

"Musa." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/musa

banana

banana Long, curved, yellow or reddish fruit of the tree of the same name. It has soft, creamy flesh. A spike of yellow, clustered flowers grows from the centre of the crown of the tree and bends downwards and develops into bunches of 50–150 fruits in ‘hands’ of 10–20. More than 100 varieties are cultivated. Fruits used for cooking are called plantains. Height: 3–9m (10–30ft). Family Musaceae; genus Musa.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"banana." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"banana." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/banana

"banana." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/banana

banana

banana XVI. — Pg. — a lang. of W. Africa (Guinea).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"banana." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"banana." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/banana-2

"banana." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/banana-2

Mūsā

Mūsā (Muslim form of Moses): see MOSES.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mūsā." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mūsā." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/musa

"Mūsā." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/musa

banana

banana See MUSA.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"banana." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"banana." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/banana

"banana." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/banana

banana

bananaAlana, Anna, bandanna, banner, Branagh, canna, canner, Diana, fanner, Fermanagh, Guyana, Hannah, Havana, hosanna, Indiana, Joanna, lanner, Louisiana, manna, manner, manor, Montana, nana, planner, Pollyanna, Rosanna, savannah, scanner, spanner, Susanna, tanner •Abner • Jaffna • Patna • caravanner •Africana, Afrikaner, Americana, ana, banana, Botswana, bwana, cabana, caragana, Christiana, Dana, darner, Edwardiana, garner, Georgiana, Ghana, Gloriana, Guiana, gymkhana, Haryana, iguana, Lana, lantana, liana, Lipizzaner, Ljubljana, Mahayana, mana, mañana, marijuana, nirvana, Oriana, pacarana, piranha, prana, Purana, Rosh Hashana, Santayana, Setswana, sultana, Tatiana, Tijuana, Tirana, tramontana, Tswana, varna, Victoriana, zenana •Gardner • partner •antenna, Avicenna, duenna, henna, Jenna, Jenner, Morwenna, Ravenna, senna, Siena, sienna, tenner, tenor, Vienna •Edna • interregna • Etna • Pevsner

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"banana." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"banana." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/banana-0

"banana." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/banana-0

musa

musa (ˈmjuːzə) multiple unit steerable aerial (or antenna)

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"musa." The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"musa." The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/musa

"musa." The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/musa