Musa acuminata Colla
There are over 1,000 varieties of bananas but only about 500 are edible and only about 20 varieties are grown commercially. Cavendish banana entered mass commercial production in 1903 but did not gain prominence until Panama disease attacked the dominant banana cultivar, Gros Michel (“Big Mike”) in the 1950s.
Cavendish bananas were named after William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire. They are a subgroup of the species Musa acuminata. This subgroup includes several common cultivars like ‘Dwarf Cavendish’, ‘Extra Dwarf Cavendish’, ‘Grande Naine’ and ‘Giant Cavendish’, just to mention a few.
‘Grand Nain’ banana (also spelled ‘Grande Naine’) is one of the most commonly, commercially cultivated cavendish cultivar. (see photo above).