Banana Variety Selection

It is widely believed that there are more than 1,000 types of bananas in the world, which are subdivided into 50 groups.

Banana Types

These are the type of Bananas from around the world.

  • Cavendish Banana – the most common subgroup that belongs to Musa acuminata, is native to Southeast Asia and is the primarily used variety in the Philippines. Cavendish Banana is considered the most appealing-popular variety for consumers.

It is a large banana with a thick peel and small seeds. Slightly sweet and creamy texture. The various stages of ripening from green to yellow to yellow with brown spots.

Some popular cultivars of Cavendish bananas are Dwarf Cavendish, Giant Cavendish, Tall Williams, and Grand Naine. This type of banana is classified as a dessert banana.

  • Gros Michel (Big Mike) Banana – The most popular type of banana before Cavendish. It was considered a predecessor to the Cavendish. Before the disease wiped out this banana cultivar, it was the most popular for export from 1870 to the 1950s.

It is one of the largest fruit/types of Bananas and has a thick peel that makes the fruits suitable/resistant to transportation and export. It is tastier than Cavendish.

  • Burro Banana – Shorter and chunkier than the Cavendish banana. It grows to about 6″ (15 cm) in length.
  • Manzano (Apple) Banana – This type of banana is a hybrid cultivar and is a cross between Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. A chubby look banana only grows to about 4″ (10 cm) in length.
  • Lady Finger Banana – Due to the intense sweetness of this type of banana, this is called ‘Sugar Banana,’ ‘Fig Banana,’ or ‘Date Banana’. This only measure 3 inches (7.5 cm) in length and usually is characterized as baby banana (Nino).
  • Red Banana – Refers to a classification of banana cultivars with red skin with creamy pink flesh. Some types have yellowish-orange flesh. This is the healthiest type of banana because the orange/red color, the more B-carotene in the flesh.

Red varieties of bananas are classified by the region where they grow, such as Red Spanish, Red Cuban, or Red Colorado.

In the Philippines, the Red banana is locally called ‘Morado’. The skin of this banana is thick and leathery, while the soft flesh is sweet with a slight tangy note. The seeds are also distinctly bigger than usual.

  • Blue Java Banana – A hybrid type of banana that is famous for its delicious texture, like ice cream. This is also called the ‘Ice cream’ banana. Blue Java bananas go through color changes as they ripen, similar to other types of bananas. The unripe banana color is light to sky-blue color. This type of banana mainly grows in Hawaii, and it’s also called the ‘Hawaiian Banana’.
  • Rajapuri Banana – This Indian type of banana is sweet and medium-sized and also recommended as an ornamental plant that thrives in full sun. The average size of this banana is between 5″ and 6″ (13-15 cm). The tree grows to about 10 ft. (3 m) in height, compared to the typical banana tree that can reach 25 ft. (7.5 m).
  • Plantains – (Musa paradisiaca) is a type of cooking banana called ‘green banana’. The characteristic of being starchy and not as like with the other types of banana is the reason behind its use only for cooking. Especially when it is fully ripened, it is suitable for cooking. Their hard, firm texture and stiff peel hold up well when fried, boiled, or steamed. This type of banana is the staple diet food in the Caribbean, Central and West Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Top 5 varieties of bananas in the Philippines

In the Philippines, we have these Top 5 varieties of bananas consumed daily.

  1. Cavendish Banana
  2. Lakatan Banana
  3. Latundan Banana
  4. Saba Banana
  5. Bungulan Banana

Among these varieties, we consider the most important fruit crop economically, and we call the ‘Cash crop’ in the Philippines the Cavendish banana.

The primary variety (50% of the total banana production) generates 329- 648 jobs in the country, providing P42.3B in annual wages. Moreover, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Philippines is the 3rd largest producer of bananas globally.


Further reading

Banana: Crop History, Nutritional Value and Health Benefits

Banana Plant Information & Environmental Requirements

Banana Variety Selection

Banana Plant Care – Commercial Cultivation of Bananas

Soil Requirements and Land Preparation for Bananas

Banana Planting Distances and Support Systems

Banana Water Requirements & Irrigation Systems

Banana Nutrient Requirements and Fertilization Program

Banana Plant Protection – Major Banana Diseases

Banana Plant Protection – Common Pests of Banana Plants

Banana Yield, Harvest, Processing and Storage

Banana Exports and Markets


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