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Scientific Name: Musa velutina H.Wendl. & Drude

Family: Musaceae


Genus:  Musa – The name is a latinization of the Arabic name for
the fruit mauz

Species: Velutina – frefers to the fruit and means velvety or covered in fine short soft erect hairs


It occurs naturally in North East India in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. It has been introduced and naturalised in Myanmar, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica.

Native Habitat

Woodlands, low forest and scrub.


Height 1.5m. Pseudostems slender, yellow-green to purple-green. Leaves oblong, 1m long, 30cm wide, dark green above, pale with red mid-rib below. Inflorescence erect, pink/red bracts, pale yellow flowers, fruits bright pink, velvety. Fruit split and peel back when ripe revealing white flesh surrounding small black very hard seeds.


November to April

Location in Garden

Bed 18b (Sub-Tropical Walk), Bed 23a (Palm Grove) and Bed 43 (Tropical Horticulture)


This relatively small growing ornamental banana is well suited to tropical, sub-tropical and warm temperate gardens where it thrives with regular moisture, fertile soil and protection from strong winds. Although grown predominately as an ornamental the fruit is edible but unpalatable containing minimal flesh surrounding rock hard seeds. Wild bananas such as Musa velutina have an important role to play in ensuring a gene pool that may be needed to provide disease resistance to the major commercial banana variety “Cavendish” which is propagated vegetatively and are thus all plants are genetically identical. Like all bananas, Musa velutina is a large herbaceous perennial monocot. The stem of the plant is known as a pseudostem and is comprised of leaf bases. After flowering and fruiting the pseudostem collapses and dies but the plant continues to grow from suckers produced from an underground corm. Flowers are pollinated by bats attracted to the large amount on nectar held in the flowers.

Must See in the Garden

Recommended by the volunteers

Musa VelutinaDownload the Must See in the Garden map to enjoy a self guided walk around the Garden. Created by our volunteers each month with seasonal highlights in mind.

Or simply visit the Information Booth at the Garden Shop at 10.30 am everyday for a free guided walk!