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Giant Highland Banana (Musa ingens): All You Need to Know About World’s Biggest Banana

The largest and tallest non-woody plant in the world, this mysterious enormous banana from New Guinea's mystical mountains holds an uncontested title.

Sonali Behera
The Giant Highland Banana is the world's largest herbaceous plant and the largest species of banana
The Giant Highland Banana is the world's largest herbaceous plant and the largest species of banana

Musa ingens, sometimes known as Musa ingens NW Simmonds, is the scientific name for the world's biggest banana tree. The Afrak Mountains in West Papua, which is located between 100 and 200 meters above sea level, is where this plant was initially found. According to a researcher from the Papua Archaeological Center, Musa ingens has been around since the Stone Age.

Family: Musaceae
Scientific name: Musa ingens
Common name: Giant Highland Banana
Origin: New Guinea

The Giant Highland Banana is the world's largest herbaceous plant and the largest species of banana. It is an extremely uncommon species that can only be found on the island of New Guinea at elevations between 1200 and 1800 meters in the mountain woods. The stem, which is made up of folded leaves, can grow as tall as 15 meters and have a circumference of 2 meters. The result is a massive banana that may reach a height of 20 meters when the five-meter-long leaves are added. Following flowering, trusses grow, sometimes holding as many as 300 bananas, each measuring 25–30 cm in length. A banana truss may weigh up to 60 KG.

Detailed Description of the Giant Highland Banana

There aren't many plants that are as passionately sought after as this mystery big banana from New Guinea's untamed mountains. It holds the unquestionable record for the largest and tallest of the bananas and the largest non-woody plant in the world, with a trunk that may reach a height of at least 15 m, a diameter of roughly a meter at the base, and a total plant height of at least 20 m.

One of nature's surprises is how an herbaceous plant may grow to a size greater than many wooden trees by developing an underground rhizome, a pseudostem comprised entirely of tightly packed leafbeases.

Musa ingens has a pseudostem that is somewhat similar to Ensete glaucum, but much bigger, and that is somewhat inflated near the base. It has a crown of around 12 rising, somewhat stiff leaves that are up to 6 meters long. More than 300 oblong fruits up to 18 cm long, with blackish-brown seeds and edible, sweet, and delectable flesh that, when cooked, tastes like exquisite butternut squash blended with sweet banana with a dash of tart lime and citrus added, may be found on the huge inflorescence.

This plant is typically found in damp areas in steep ravines or on the borders of highland swamps and is a native of montane rainforests in New Guinea between elevations of around 1300 and 2000 m. Few seeds have ever been successfully planted, and the majority of those have died through improper handling or being chosen too young.

Giant Highland Banana needs growing conditions more suited to tree ferns than to conventional bananas. Its highland habitat means that, like many Ensete, it won't thrive in tropical lowland climates and will instead thrive at a certain altitude where the nights are cooler or in oceanic, warm temperate climates like those found in Portugal, northern New Zealand, coastal California, coastal southern Brazil, or on Atlantic islands like Madeira or the Canary Islands.

Bananas are known for being fairly challenging to germinate. Most likely, germination thrives best in environments like their native habitat. Musa ingens environment is wet, with warm days and chilly nights. However, beneath a closed canopy, bananas do not germinate on the forest floor. They cannot flourish in extreme shade. They are opportunistic plants whose seeds can linger in the soil for many years before a canopy tree falls in a rare event, allowing light to penetrate the forest floor. Such harm can frequently result from flames. The soil where the seeds are buried can then get direct sunshine.

It is usually suggested to recreate these circumstances, to deactivate any germination inhibitors present in the seeds, and to initiate germination

  1. Heat by placing the pots on a heating pad, shallowly sowing the seeds, and soaking them in a tiny amount of boiling water for 24 hours.

  2. Smoke, either by applying smoke extract or scattering ash on top of the soil and repeatedly watering them with ash water.

  3. Light, by placing them under intense artificial light or filtered sunlight.

A high percentage of germination can be swiftly achieved with these treatments if they are carried out correctly.

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