Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the world. They are a great source of nutrition and come in a variety of colors, sizes, and tastes. But did you know that there are many different types of bananas?
Understanding the various types can help you find the perfect banana for your culinary needs. But did you know that there are dozens of different varieties of bananas? From plantains to baby bananas, let's dive into the fascinating world of bananas.
⬇️ Table of Contents
- 🍌 Types of Bananas
- 1. Apple Bananas
- 2. Banana King (Royal Banana)
- 3. Gros Michel
- 4. Lady Finger
- 5. Blue Java
- 6. Manzano Banana
- 7. Red Bananas
- 8. Goldfinger Bananas
- 9. Nanjangud Banana
- 10. Praying Hands Bananas
- 11. Latundan
- 12. Red Dacca Bananas
- 13. Orinoco Bananas
- 14. Fehi Bananas
- 15. Bluggoe Banana
- 16. Pisang Raja Bananas
- 17. Barangan Bananas
- 18. Jamaican Red Dwarf Bananas
- 19. Baby Bananas
- 20. Cavendish Bananas
- 21. Dwarf Cavendish Bananas
- 22. Giant Cavendish Banana
- 23. Saba Bananas
- 24. Rajapui Banana
- 25. Rhino Horn Banana
- 26. Green Horn Plantain
- 27. Macho Plantains
🍌 Types of Bananas
Bananas are incredibly versatile, from being a key ingredient in smoothies and oatmeal bowls to being used as a topping for your favorite ice cream.
Taxonomic Classification of Banana
Bananas are tropical fruit and are a member of the Musaceae family. This taxonomic classification is critical in understanding their biology and origins and how they reproduce.
The kingdom of Plantae refers to all plants, while Magnoliophyta denotes the flowering plant species.
The class Liliopsida refers to monocots, or plants with one cotyledon (seed leaf) within their seed.
Zingiberales indicate that the plant belongs to the ginger family, and Musaceae reveals their close relationship with other fruits such as pineapple, heliconia and ginger lily.
Finally, genus Musa and species acuminata single out bananas for specific characteristics of their type and variety.
Bananas are one of the most widely cultivated plants in the world, grown commercially on over 50 million hectares (125 million acres). In 2017, global production stood at approximately 740 million tonnes. Bananas are a major food crop in many tropical countries; about 95% of the bananas produced worldwide are consumed domestically, while exports account for around 5%.
Almost half of the world's types of bananas come from Latin America and Africa, mainly from Brazil, Ecuador, Nigeria, and Uganda. In 2016, the United States imported $5.8 billion worth of bananas, making it the largest importer of bananas in the world.
1. Apple Bananas
Apple bananas, also known as Latundan bananas, are a sweet and delicious hybrid banana cultivar developed from two wild species: Musa Balbisiana and Musa acuminata. These triploid AAB bananas are most commonly grown in the rainy tropical forests of Hawaii.
Their unique flavor is characterized by an exceptionally sweet taste different from the bland sweetness of typical Cavendish bananas, with a slightly tangy finish. They are sometimes referred to as "candy apple bananas" due to their intense sweetness.
Apple bananas are shorter and sweeter than the Cavendish varieties, making them one of Hawaii's most popular banana types.
2. Banana King (Royal Banana)
Banana King, also known as Royal Banana, originated in Indonesia. It is believed to have gotten its name in the 13th century when a Tran King declared it his favorite fruit. These bananas are seedless and sweet, making them perfect for making delicious banana fritters. They are also known as Musa Belle bananas and belong to the Musaceae family.
Variegated bananas, or Royal Purple bananas, are another rare type of Banana King. These bright pinkish-purple fruits reach 5-9 feet when mature, with bright green leaves and yellow flowers that give way to the fruit. They grow best in tropical climates and grow on the King's plantation in Samoa and elsewhere around the world.
Banana Kings are popular among tourists visiting Da Lat, where bunches of Laba bananas are sold to visitors looking for exotic treats.
3. Gros Michel
The Gros Michel bananas are considered among the world's best-tasting bananas. They have been grown since 1871 in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, where British planters introduced them.
Today, the Gros Michel banana is cultivated mainly in Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Réunion Island. It is highly prized for its exceptional flavor and is one of the most expensive types of bananas.
4. Lady Finger
Lady Finger are diploid banana cultivars of Musa acuminata that have been around for centuries. Though they may not be as popular as Cavendish or Plantain bananas, they still provide many health benefits.
Lady Finger bananas have a distinct taste that distinguishes them from other bananas. They are slightly sweeter than regular bananas, with a hint of citrusy tartness and notes of vanilla, honey, and dates. Because they have less starch content than regular bananas, they also have a more delicate texture that some people prefer over the firmer consistency of conventional bananas.
Lady Fingers are small, thin-skinned, and sweet, with an intense flavor that is commonly compared to dates or figs. They are also high in fiber and low in calories, making them an excellent snack option for those watching their weight.
5. Blue Java
Blue Java bananas are known as Ice Cream Bananas because of their similarity to vanilla ice cream. These delicious fruits are native to Costa Rica, where they grow wild. Their name comes from the fact that their skin looks blue when unripe.
The fruit has aromatic soft and sweet flesh. You can add it to smoothies or relishes its distinctive taste raw!
6. Manzano Banana
The name Manzano refers to the Spanish word manzanillo, meaning "little apples." This variety originated in Mexico and is now grown throughout Central America. It's one of the most widely planted varieties in Costa Rica.
Manzano banana is very popular because it produces large fruits weighing up to 3 pounds each. Its skin is yellowish green, smooth, and glossy. The plant grows quickly, producing small bunches of medium-sized fruit.
7. Red Bananas
Red bananas have red-purplish skin and sweet flesh with a pink and orange tinge; few of them are small and thick than Cavendish bananas. They have a creamy texture, and some have a slight raspberry taste.
8. Goldfinger Bananas
Honduras is home to one of the world's most famous varieties of bananas — the Goldfinger. It is cold-tolerance, wind, and disease-resistant, making it ideal for Central America. Its name comes from the fact that it looks gold when viewed under black light.
In addition to being delicious, it is easy to grow and harvest. There are many different subspecies of Goldfingers, including the Black Banana, Red Banana, Yellow Banana, and White Banana. They are all grown in tropical climates around the globe.
The fruit has an apple-type taste and does not turn brown once cut. It grows up to three feet tall and reaches maturity within five months. It is usually harvested when ripe, but green bananas can still be eaten. The skin turns yellow when fully ripe, which makes it easier to identify.
9. Nanjangud Banana
The Nanjangud banana is one of India's eight varieties of bananas. It is known for its distinctive taste and aroma and slightly sour flavor due to the use of black clay alluvial soil around Nanjangad village in Chamarajanagar District of Karnataka state. Around 50,000 farmers grow it across the region.
In Kannada, they are one of India's most popular fruits. It has been cultivated here for centuries and is known as the "king of bananas."
This sweet fruit grows best in the hot, humid climate of Karnataka state, where it thrives in black volcanic soil rich in iron oxide. The name Nanjangud refers to the area in the district of Chamarajanagar where bananas grow naturally.
They are eaten both raw and cooked. For dessert banana, they are often used to make sweets like kheer, halwa, and payasam.
10. Praying Hands Bananas
Bananas Are An Unusual Variety With Two Adjoining' Hands' That Grow Merged
The praying hands banana is an unusual variety with two adjacent "hands" that grow fused together. This unique shape makes it easier to peel off fruit without damaging the skin. In addition to being delicious, the praying hands banana is also easy to grow. They require little fertilizer and water, making them ideal for small farms.
The Latundan banana is named for a French clergyman, Jean Baptiste de La Tour d'Auvergne, Marquis du Plessis-Praslin, who introduced the fruit to Europe during his travels in 1823. He sent samples to Parisian botanical gardens where he worked, including Jardin des Plantes. In 1825, he published "Manual of the Fruit Garden," describing the plant as "a very beautiful tree."
In 1928, a Belgian nurseryman named Louis Van Houtte began growing the variety in Belgium, and it became widely planted worldwide. It is grown commercially in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and many parts of Africa.
12. Red Dacca Bananas
Red Dacca are unique types of bananas because they have a red-purple hue with yellow spots on the peel. Their flesh is creamy white with small black seeds inside that can be eaten or discarded, depending on your preference. The shape of the banana is also quite distinct; it is longer than the traditional Cavendish—the most commonly found variety—banana but slightly thinner. This banana has earned its nickname "longfingers" due to its long, slender shape.
Red Dacca bananas have a sweet taste similar to other varieties of banana but with hints of strawberry and raspberry as well. They are not as starchy as other types of bananas, making them ideal for smoothies or desserts. When cooked, their flavor intensifies and becomes even sweeter, making them great for baking cakes or bread for an added sweetness.
13. Orinoco Bananas
Orinoco bananas are one of the most popular varieties of bananas grown in Venezuela. These fruits are very hardy, so they survive well in cold climates and wind. They require support when bearing heavy heads of fruit.
Their skin turns silky and soft when fully ripe, with a firm and fibrous peel. However, these bananas are relatively starchy but have a delightfully sweet taste and smooth texture, making them ideal for eating raw.
The burro banana or Orinoco is a large tropical plant native to South America. Its name comes from the Spanish word "burro," meaning donkey.
This type of banana resembles a donkey's head because it grows into a big round ball. The burro banana is grown primarily in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Panama. In Central America, there are two burros bananas; one is called the "palo de oso" (bear palm).
14. Fehi Bananas
Fehi bananas are one of the most popular types of bananas in Israel. They are grown mainly around the city of Beersheba, where there are many plantations. These are usually sold at supermarkets during the summer months.
Fehi red bananas are one of the most popular varieties of bananas in Taiwan. They are also known as "Fèi Bananas" in Chinese.
The name "feh" refers to the Hebrew word for "banana." In Arabic, it is called "Fahy," while in Turkish, it is known as "feyi."
The fe'i banana, also known as the fehi banana, is a variety of bananas found in the Philippines. It is characterized by its large size, dark green leaves, and bright orange flesh. Its name derives from the Tagalog word "fe", meaning "to boil." This fruit is often used in Filipino cuisine, especially in dessert bananas like flan.
15. Bluggoe Banana
The Bluggoe Banana Bear is a hybrid plant between Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. Its name originates from the Burmese word blutgoy meaning "to bear fruit." In the early 20th century, the banana industry in Burma developed rapidly due to its high productivity. However, the development of the banana industry came at the expense of traditional banana varieties such as these special bananas.
In the 1980s, a group of farmers from Myanmar began breeding a new banana variety, the Bluggoe. They crossed Musa balbisiana with Musa acuminatata to produce a banana with a long shelf life and a good taste. After several trials, the farmers succeeded in creating a banana that could withstand the tropical climate and pests.
Today, the banana is widely grown throughout Myanmar and exported to neighboring countries. It is often used as a staple food in rural areas because of its low cost and ease of preparation.
Bluggoes is considered one of the most important crops in Myanmar today.
Bluggoe, a hybrid variety of banana developed in Australia, is named for its resemblance to a blugeon, a type of green cooking banana native to Southeast Asia. Like many hybrids, it combines the characteristics of both parents. Its skin is thin and smooth, like a Cavendish banana, while its taste resembles that of a Buncha.
The fruit grows well in tropical climates and does not require much water. However, it requires high temperatures and long periods of sunshine to fully mature. In addition, it is susceptible to diseases such as Panama disease, Fusarium wilt, and bacterial soft rot.
16. Pisang Raja Bananas
One of Southeast Asia's banana varieties, Musa Belle and Apple Bananas, is immensely popular among Indonesians. Yellow with black spots when ripened, the banana has bright red flesh with a sweet, creamy taste and grainy texture. It is especially good eaten fresh, added to fruit salads, or used to make pancakes and French toast.
Pisang raja (also known as musa belle) is a delicious variety of banana that grows in Indonesia. Its name literally translates into "banana king." This particular variety is very well suited for making Indonesian snacks called pancakes, a sort of flatbread made with flour and water.
17. Barangan Bananas
Barangan bananas are one of the most well-known varieties of bananas in the Philippines. They are small and round, with yellow skin and creamy white flesh. Their flavor is mild, slightly sweet, and a little sour. Although they are called "bananas," they have derived from the Musa acuminata plant.
The fruit grows best in warm weather and does not require much care. However, it needs plenty of water during the growing season. If you want to grow them yourself, buy plants in nurseries and wait for them to sprout roots. You can transplant them into pots once they develop several pairs of leaves.
18. Jamaican Red Dwarf Bananas
The dwarf jamaica banana is a cross between the Cavendish and Gros Michel varieties. It grows about twice as fast as regular bananas and produces fruit within three months. This makes it ideal for farmers looking to quickly produce large quantities of bananas.
This particular variety of banana is small—about half the size of a normal banana—and has a slightly sweet taste. When fully ripened, it takes on a deep orange color. It is usually sold frozen, though you can find it fresh at some grocery stores.
19. Baby Bananas
Baby bananas are sweeter and smaller versions of the larger Cavendish banana. They are usually eaten raw, just like regular bananas. They make great portion controlled snacks, which is why many parents purchase them for their children. These little fruits are creamy in texture and taste delicious.
20. Cavendish Bananas
The most popular variety of bananas worldwide is called Cavendish bananas. They are slightly sweet bananas that grow in tropical climates around the globe. Cavendish bananas go from green to yellow to deep yellow with brown spots (fully ripe).
They are one of the few varieties of bananas that do not require pollination, meaning there are no flowers to attract insects. This makes it easier to control pests such as beetles, flies, and ants.
Every stage of the banana is useful in different ways. The under-ripe bananas are often eaten raw in salads, drinks, and desserts. Ripe bananas are perfect for baking cakes, banana bread, pies, pancakes, muffins, and cookies. Over-ripe fruits make great snacks like fruit leather, banana chips, and banana fritters.
When making delicious banana bread, choosing the right type of cooking bananas is key. Cavendish bananas are probably the most popular type of supermarket cooking bananas, and they're ideal for baking banana bread.
21. Dwarf Cavendish Bananas
This banana is very popular because it grows quickly and produces large quantities of fruit. Its long shelf life allows farmers to store it for several months without losing quality. This banana is also resistant to pests, diseases, and drought.
22. Giant Cavendish Banana
The Giant Cavendish Banana is one of the most common bananas grown today. The name "William" refers to the original plant discovered in 1859 in Jamaica. Bananas are native to tropical climates throughout Central America and South America, where temperatures range from 22°C to 31°C (71°F to 88°F). In 2016, there were over 30 million tons produced worldwide.
23. Saba Bananas
The Saba banana originated in the Philippines, where it is known as "saba." This fruit is larger than most bananas and has an angular shape. Its skin is very thick and tough. It grows best in warm climates and is often used to make desserts.
This variety is widely known because it's the most common type found in supermarkets. Its name comes from the Spanish word Sabana. This banana looks like a small green ball with white stripes. It is usually sold in plastic bags.
24. Rajapui Banana
Rajapuri is one of the most delicious bananas you can find. These are grown in India and are known for their unique flavor.
These are dark green and slightly curved in shape. You can find them in many different sizes. Some people prefer smaller ones, while others like larger ones.
They are rich in nutrients and contain essential vitamins such as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E, K, Mg, P, Niacin, Folic acid, Pantothenic acid, Riboflavin, Thiamine, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Zinc.
25. Rhino Horn Banana
The world's biggest banana variety is 14 inches in length inch long rhino horn banana. They grow up to 12-14 inches tall and weigh around 20 pounds each. These bananas are native to Central America and South America. There are about 10 different varieties of rhino horn bananas.
This is the largest variety of bananas in the world. They are mostly found in Africa and Asia. The fruit is very popular because of its taste and size. They are often used in desserts and smoothies.
As you might know, bananas contain potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, calcium, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, biotin, and vitamins A and C.
Plantains are bananas that change color as they ripen. Green ones are firmer and taste similar to potatoes. Yellow ones are softer, sweeter, and starchier. Overripe plantains are black, hard, and very sweet.
Plantains are a type of banana that is larger and starchier than their sweet, yellow cousins. They come in two main varieties – French and Horn – with many subgroups based on size or flavor. Plantains have been a staple food in many tropical areas for centuries.
While they look like large bananas, they are separate fruit and have more starch than regular bananas. Plantains can be eaten cooked or raw, depending on the dish you’re making. When green and firm, plantains are often used as vegetables in savory dishes.
They can be eaten raw or cooked into dishes such as curries, fries, chips, and desserts.
26. Green Horn Plantain
Green Horn Plantains are a hybrid banana belonging to the Musaceae family. They are native to Africa and are also known as Rhino Horn plantains or African Rhino Horn bananas. These starchy fruits are an important source of nutrition in many tropical areas and can be eaten baked, boiled, fried, grilled, or steamed.
Green Horn Plantains have more starch than other types of banana and are often prepared as Tostones - a traditional dish consisting of twice-fried plantain slices. Due to their small size, Green Horn Plantains are also sometimes referred to as Señorita bananas.
Although they may not look like it, Green Horn Plantains can be quite sweet when ripe and make a delicious snack or side dish!
27. Macho Plantains
Macho Plantains are one of the most commonly eaten varieties of plantain in America. They grow up to three feet tall and are covered in long spikes. Macho plantains are both sweet and sour. They originate from Ecuador, where they are cultivated primarily in the provinces of Manabí and Guayas.
The name "macho" comes from the Spanish word for manhood, macho. These fruits are often used as a symbol of strength and virility.