The banana plant is grown for its fruit.
Bananas to be eaten raw are grown in commercial plantations, chiefly for export.
These bananas are soft, sweet, and not very mealy. Two main kinds are planted:
- Varieties of the so- called Chinese banana, or Canary banana, such as Lacatan (chiefly in Jamaica), Poyo, Big Dwarf, Little Dwarf.
- Varieties of the fig banana, such as Gros Michel.
Around houses you often see another variety which produces very small bananas called "sweet figs."
The kind of banana called plantain is grown as a food crop in forest regions. Its fruits are very large, not sweet and very mealy. They are cooked for eating.
There are two main types of plantains:
- French plantains, with heavy bunches containing many fruits;
- horn plantains, with very big fruits, few in number, shaped like a horn.