FAMILY OF THE WEEK : MUSACEAE
A small family of two genera (Musa
) In India only one genus Musa with 10 species occurring in the Himalayas western ghats and Assam.
Vegetative characters :
They are perennial large to gigantic herbs attaining a height upto 15 meters. They persist by means of underground rhizome.
aerial pseudo stem which is usually tall, stout and unbranched is
formed by imbricate,sheathing and stiff bases of the leaves. A short
conical axis is concealed at the base of the shaft and its growth is
terminated by the inflorescence. The axillary shoots provide new growth.
leaves are spirally arranged, large and oval or oblong with a stout
midrib and numerous parallel veins extending to the margins.
Inflorescence and flowers :
plant produces a single terminal inflorescence which springs from the
rhizome and emerges at the top of the pseudo stem.The flowers are
arranged collaterally in racemes and are protected by large brightly
coloured spathe like bracts.Flowers are mostly unisexual and the plants
are monoecious with male flowers in upper bracts and female within the
They are zygomorphic, trimerous and epigynous. The
perianth is of six members in two whorls of three each.There are six
stamens.The gynoecium is tricarpellary and syncarpous with an inferior
ovary. The style is filioform and the stigma is three lobed.Fruits and seeds:
The fruit is a fleshy berry which does not produce any seeds in cultivated form of Musa.
The seeds have a thick and hard testa.
Pollination and seed dispersal :
Insects pollinate the flowers who visit for the nectar. Sometimes also by nectar seeking birds.Seeds are dispersed by animals.Examples
L. subsp. sapientum
There are over 200 varities under cultivation.