Monday, March 30, 2009

The Red Banana

Perhaps you have heard of the "black tulip" or "Queen of the Night"

However, it is a horticulturist dream to grow a "black rose" or even a “black hibiscus”.

And when it comes to fruits, perhaps you have heard of the red durian.

And how about red banana?

Banana is indigenous to Southeast Asia and there are many species and varieties of banana in the region. Banana trees have been introduced to a great number of tropical and subtropical climates. The main edible banana group in Sarawak (and most part of Southeast Asia) belongs to the species Musa acuminata or the hybrids between Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. Wild Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana are with seeds and thus not really edible. But numerous selections of this species led to seedless cultivars that have been propagated vegetatively for centuries. Those banana I have often encountered growing wild in the secondary forest of Sarawak including on roadsides is Musa acuminata and is by itself with many varieties. However, hybridization between Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana has created dozens more of banana varieties, including the red banana.

Red banana or Jamaican banana is a variety of banana with a pretty red, pink or purple skin. Its flesh is smooth and sweet, often tinted of pink or orange. The red bananas are grown commercially in Central America for export.

Grown more slowly than their yellow counterparts, the red banana plant takes 10 months to fruit and six months to mature with fruit taking a further five days to ripen. The banana tree can grow as high as 6 metres. The bananas develop on the foral stem following the appearance of clusters of flowers.

Red bananas are surprisingly popular and available the year round at specialty markets in western countries. In North America, the first bananas to appear on the market in Toronto (in the 1870s and 1880s) were red bananas. In February 2006, Marks and Spencers introduced red bananas to UK supermarkets to be followed by the supermarket Morrisons in 2008. The red bananas is said to be sweeter than the yellow banana.

In western countries, they are most frequently eaten whole raw or chopped and added to desserts or fruit salads. They can also be baked, fried or toasted and is delicious in pied, cakes and fritters.. Red bananas are one of the varieties commonly used for store-bought dried bananas. The red banana goes well with dairy products; It can be added to yogurt, ice cream, sherbets or milk shakes. That reminds me of "Jelly Pisang" - the signature dessert of the canteen at the Rejang Park Traffic Garden once upon a time.


  1. Nope, never heard of either. I would love to try them though (not that I'm even sure a durian is edible).

  2. Hi, wonder if we could be connected through email?

  3. Yes, I can be contacted on

  4. Nice Stuff!

    Commendable Blog indeed!

    Great Going!

    Dear Blogger, need your valuable feedback for:


  5. that's new to me, red banana. Never heard of. For your information, the canteen in Rejang Park Traffic Garden is no longer operate. Changed many owners in this few years. Now it is closed since CNY. It is more like abandon already. Hope SMC can do something about it as I think that is a very good place to have a drink.

  6. It is indeed new to me. Black Tulip is the name of a very famous novel with themes which are still relevant today.

  7. I hope you will write more about plants which mayhelp to improve our landscape.