Pseudostems heavily blotched with brown or black. Petioles: margins of adaxial groove erect, winged proximally. Inflorescences: pedicels short; bracts of staminate flowers lanceolate or narrowly ovate, apex acute, abaxial surface yellow, red, or dull purple, adaxial surface yellow proximally, often yellow or dull purple distally. Staminate flowers white or cream. Pistillate flowers: stigmas deep yellow or orange; each locule with 2 regular rows of ovules.
Giant herb arising from a short horizontal branching rhizome. Pseudostems formed from the overlapping leaf-bases, up to 5 m. high, usually less than 25 cm. in diameter. Leaf-blades oblong-lanceolate, to 2-2.5 × 0.4-0.6 m., apex truncate, base rounded, petiole and midrib green, somewhat glaucous. Inflorescence appearing from the top of the pseudostem, horizontal or deflexed; peduncle pubescent. Bracts of the ? part of the inflorescence red, quickly deciduous, each subtending ± 20 flowers. Outer 3-lobed tepal of ? flowers 3.5-4.5 cm. long and ± 1.2 cm. wide, yellow above; inner tepal ± 1.5-2 cm. long, the apiculum 1-2 mm. long; stamens 5, 4-5 cm. long. Bracts of the ? part of the inflorescence red, deciduous, each subtending up to 16 flowers. Outer 3-lobed tepal ± 2.5 cm. long, yellow at the apex; free tepal ± 1.5 cm. long, translucent; ovary glabrous, or partially or entirely pubescent. Fruits 10-20 in each group, each 8-13 cm. long, 1.5-3 cm. in diameter, first green but becoming yellow when fully ripe. Seeds irregularly depressed-spherical, 6-7 × 3 mm., dull black.
Mem. Gen. Musa: 66 (1820); Cheesman in K.B. 3: 17-28 (1948); U.O.P.Z.: 359 (photo. opp.), 373 (1949); Simm. in KB. 14: 198-204 (1960); Simm. & Sheph. in Nature 169: 507, 508 (1952).