The banana (Musa ‘Cavendish’) inflorescence

posted in: Plants | 2

The banana (Musa ‘Cavindish’) inflorescence is a huge structure that emerges from the top of the plant. It then bends down to expose the large, compact, teardrop-shaped inflorescence bud (above). This bud is made up of spirally arranged, large, reddish bracts under which are double rows of flowers.

Initially, each bract will roll backwards to expose the female flowers with prominent green ovary and abortive stamens. The images above show the female flowering hands (above-top) and close up of a female flower (above-bottom; scale in mm). These flowers will eventually develop into fruits.

Subsequent bracts will expose male flowers with smaller abortive ovaries and functional stamens. The images above show the male flowering hand (above-top) and close-up of a male flower (above-bottom; scale in mm).

The inflorescence bud will continue to expose male flowers until the bud becomes smaller and smaller. The inflorescence stem below the last hand of developing fruits is bare as batches of male flowers drop off as soon as they are exposed (above).

YC Wee
January 2015

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