Musa is a rhizomatous genus of about 40 species in the Musaceae family native from the Himalayas and S. China through southeast Asia to N. Australia, tropical Africa, India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines; occurrence further east into the Pacific (Pemba, Samoa and Hawaii) supposed to be due to introductions. Suckering herbs, often growing in dense clumps; lateral buds leaf-opposed. Bracts cadoucous; flowers and bracts separately inserted on axis. Flowers of proximal cymes usually functionally female. Tepal lamina 5 toothed, not deeply divided. Some of the species are a source of food (bananas and plantains).

Musa velutina, commonly called velvet pink banana, is native to northeast India. It has rich pink flowers in late summer followed by fuzzy pink fruits. The fruits are dry and seedy, so not edible, but they are highly ornamental, as are the flowers and large leaves. It thrives in moist soil with sun or partial shade and is winter hardy without special protection in Raleigh, North Carolina (Zone 7b). Even when killed to the ground each winter, it's vigorous enough to grow to a height of greater than 10 feet (3 meters) and produce flowers and fruits during a single growing season. Photos taken September 2009 by Jay Yourch.

Musa velutina flowers and fruit, Jay YourchMusa velutina, Jay Yourch

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