The Largest Species of banana from The Mysterious Mountains of New Guinea
Musa ingens is the most physically large member of the Musaceae family. Musa ingens is found in the tropical montane rainforests of New Guinea, Indonesia, at elevations ranging from 1300 to 2000 meters.
Musa ingens pseudostem is slightly swollen at the base and covered in a whitish waxy layer. It is the undisputed record holder for the largest and tallest bananas, as well as the largest non-woody plant in the world, with leaves up to 5 meters long and a trunk up to 15 meters tall, about a meter in diameter at the base, and a total plant height of 20 meters or more.
It is one of nature’s wonders that a herbaceous plant growing from an underground rhizome and producing densely packed leaf beases can grow to the size of many woody trees.
The large inflorescence can support over 300 oblong fruits up to 18cm long, each containing blackish brown seeds and yellowish pulp that is edible, sweet, and delicious. Few seeds have ever made it into cultivation in the past, and most have died before their time due to improper handling or picking when they were immature.
It will not grow in tropical lowland climates due to its highland habitat, but will thrive at higher altitudes where nights are cooler, or in oceanic, warm temperate climates such as Portugal, northern New Zealand, coastal California, coastal southern Brazil, or on Atlantic islands such as Madeira or the Canary Islands.
Germination is most likely to occur in conditions similar to those found in their natural habitat. Musa ingens prefers damp conditions with warm days and cool nights. They are unable to grow in deep shade. They are opportunistic plants with seeds that can live for many years in the soil. It will not grow in tropical lowland climates, but will thrive at higher elevations where nights are cooler, or in oceanic, warm temperate climates like Portugal, northern New Zealand, coastal California, coastal southern Brazil, or on Atlantic islands like Madeira or the Canary Islands.