You Will Not Believe This Giant Banana From West Papua: Musa Ingens Banana

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Meta Description: The largest banana in the world belongs to Musa Ingens, which is endemic to the West Papua region. You will be surprised by how tall this banana is!

Slug: Musa Ingens-Giant-Banana-West Papua

Most of us have tasted this sweet food, banana. People eat this fruit because of its sugary taste and soft texture. Banana is classified as herb and normally seedless. However, this banana is different from a normal banana. 

Musa Ingens is a rare species of banana found in West Papua, Indonesia. You will be surprised by its gigantic size and mistake it for a tree. Here is the information about the magnificent Musa Ingens!

This Banana From West Papua Is The Largest Banana Tree In The World

If you are looking for the largest banana tree ever, then you will find it in the Afak Mountains. Musa Ingens is an endemic plant from Papua, and you cannot find this gigantic banana anywhere else. The plant only grows in the island of Papua, including Manokwari, Kaimana, Wondama bay, and Fak-Fak. 

You can also find these bananas in the secondary forests or on soil with the substrate or deep soil solum in Yapen District and Tambrauw District, Papua. People first discovered this banana in 1954 in Fak Fak. Then a professor and researcher, Jeff Daniels found it in 1989.

Scientists associated Musa Ingens with Lithocarpus rufovillosus, Musa arfakiana, Musa balbisina, and Dodonaea viscosa. Locals in Banfot Village, Tambrauw Regency often call this plant “ndowin” or “apit sepoh”. The locals often use the banana midrib in garden production and the gigantic leaves as roofs, sitting mats, and food mats. 

People cannot harvest the fruit since birds of paradise (Cenderawasih) eat them first before the residents can enjoy it. Meanwhile, the Latin or scientific name for this plant is Musa Ingens by NW Simmonds. Musa Ingens is a member of the family Musaceae, and it is the only member of the Ingentimusa section. 

Musa Ingens Is The Tallest Species Of Bananas

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Because it is very tall, people often mistake it for a tree. In fact, the plant is an herb, and it is never classified as a tree. You will be surprised by the height of this banana plant, and it can reach up to 15 m high like a palm tree. There are some photos of Musa Ingens whose “trunk” reaches 94 centimeters in diameter. 

Some reports say they found 30 meters of banana tree specimens, although it is not confirmed yet. Therefore, people nominate it as the world’s largest herbaceous plant. In addition, it is also the largest and tallest of bananas and the largest non-woody plant in the world. 

 The base of the stem (pseudostem) is up to 2 meters, with its “trunk” as high as 15 meters. The unfurled leaves are 20 meters off the ground. The giant leaves are about 5 meters in length and 1 meter in width. Banana does not actually have a “trunk” since it is not classified as a woody plant. Thus, it is considered a botanical herb. Instead of having a trunk, it has pseudostems made out of leaf stalks (petioles). However, people think Musa Ingen has a “trunk” because the banana grows like a tree size. 

Musa Ingens’ trunk is made out of stalks of its leaves. Therefore, It is such a wonder of nature that an herbaceous plant can grow that tall. It is very incredible how pseudostems made out of leaf stalks can be taller than most woody trees. 

The tall trunk can also hold a lot of fruits with 300 fruits in total, which weigh 60 kilograms (132 pounds). The fruit is 18 centimeters long, with seeds of the fruit being 4-10mm. Just like any regular banana, it has yellow flesh with brownish seeds. It is edible when it gets ripe. You will taste a delicious sweet banana with a little touch of sourness.

Unfortunately, You Cannot Grow This Banana In Your Garden

To cultivate this plant, you need to provide a habitat the same as its origins. This plant is native to Papua island and is usually found in highland swamps 1300 and 2000m above sea level. People fail to cultivate the seeds because they are unable to provide the right environment for the seeds to grow. Unlike the regular bananas, Musa Ingens needs a habitat that mimics tree ferns’ habitat. 

It is hard to do banana germination. It will not likely grow under the forest canopy where there is not much light. In a rare case, they may grow if the light can penetrate the forest canopy and reach the forest floor. To grow, Musa Ingens needs moderate sun like those above the typical canopy of Papua forest. And that is why most pictures show this banana growing and reaching above the canopy.

Unfortunately, if you are planning to grow this plant at your home, chances are you will not succeed. Most home growers fail in their attempt, according to many reports. You will not succeed in growing this banana in a tropical lowland climate since this plant requires highland habitat. That means it can only grow in the region with cooler nights damp and warm temperate climates during the day. 

Conclusions

Musa Ingens banana is the largest and tallest species of banana. In addition, it is also the largest herbaceous plant. It is such a wonder how an herb can grow as tall as a tree. If you are interested in seeing this plant, this banana only grows in Afak Mountains, West Papua. You will be surprised by how tall this “banana tree” is. 

References

Musa Ingens – The Tallest Banana Plant in the World | The STATWorld

Largest banana species | Guinness World Records