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Gardens By The Bay / #StayHomewithGB / What's Blooming

Musa haekkinenii

Did you know that not all banana plants produce tasty, yellow fruits? Some banana species, like Musa haekkinenii, produce bright, eye-catching flowers! Find this ornamental wild banana in the Fruits and Flowers garden!


  • Did you know that Musa haekkinenii was initially thought to be a cultivar? It was previously known as ‘Hanoi Torch', after the location it was first introduced into cultivation, and its upright, flame-like inflorescence. This ornamental was later recognised as a species in its own right after a 2012 paper on a new species matched its description. It is thought to be native to the forests of northern Vietnam, although there are no actual records of specimens found in the wild.

     

    Like many wild banana species, it bears a showy upright inflorescence, unlike the pendant flower stalk of cultivated bananas. The orange-red "petals" are actually bracts - modified leaves that probably serve to entice pollinators. The true flowers, on the other hand, are small, tubular and yellow. As the bloom progresses along the stem, the lower bracts curve downwards and remain on the inflorescence, as many as 40 on a single stem!
     


  • While researchers have not yet published a description of the mature fruit of this species, if it’s similar to other wild banana species, the fruits are likely inedible, small, and filled with hard, round seeds!


    Find this beauteous banana at the Fruits & Flowers garden in World of Plants!
     

  • This article is part of our What's Blooming series.


Written by: Hazri Boey, Senior Horticulturist (Gardens Operations)
Hazri not only surrounds himself with plants at work; he has an abundant collection at home too! Having nurtured a keen interest in nature since young, he might have gone on to become a zookeeper caring for owls or sloths had it not been for his plant identification talent!

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