banana a fruit which belongs to the tropics and has its origin in SE Asia, has achieved a remarkably high level of consumption in temperate countries. For consumers there, bananas are almost uniform in appearance, being varieties which ship well and look good. But in the tropical regions where bananas grow there are countless varieties, varying widely in appearance and eating qualities. There are, moreover, both eating bananas and cooking bananas, some varieties of which are called plantains. The latter have an entry of their own, dealing with their varieties and culinary uses, but they are not a separate species and therefore figure in this entry in their botanical aspect.