Its fruits are rich in starch which grows in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. They come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red.
- Source of starch and has unique flavor – Bananas are a staple starch for many tropical populations. Depending upon cultivar and ripeness, the flesh can vary in taste from starchy to sweet, and texture from firm to mushy. Both the skin and inner part can be eaten raw or cooked. The banana's flavor is due, amongst other chemicals, to isoamyl acetate which is one of the main constituents of banana oil.
- Can be eaten and cooked in a variety of ways – Bananas are eaten deep fried, baked in their skin in a split bamboo, or steamed in glutinous rice wrapped in a banana leaf. Bananas can be made into jam. Banana chips are a snack produced from sliced dehydrated or fried banana or plantain, which have a dark brown color and an intense banana taste. Dried bananas are also ground to make banana flour. Extracting juice is difficult, because when a banana is compressed, it simply turns to pulp. Bananas feature prominently in Philippine cuisine, being part of traditional dishes and desserts like maruya, turr?n, and halo-halo.
- Have edible flowers – Banana hearts (the flower of a bananas is called banana heart) are used as a vegetable in South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine. They are either raw or steamed with dips or cooked in soups, curries and fried foods. The flavor resembles that of artichoke. As with artichokes, both the fleshy part of the bracts and the heart are edible.
- The leaves have many uses – Banana leaves are large, flexible, and waterproof. They are often used as ecologically friendly disposable food containers or as "plates" in South Asia and several Southeast Asian countries. They are also steamed with dishes because they impart a subtle sweet flavor. They often serve as a wrapping for grilling food. The leaves contain the juices which protect food from burning and add a subtle flavor. In Central American countries, banana leaves are often used as wrappers for tamales.
- Good source of nutrients and has many medicinal benefits – Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6, soluble fiber, and contain moderate amounts of vitamin C, manganese and potassium. Along with other fruits and vegetables, consumption of bananas may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in men and breast cancer in women, as well as renal cell carcinoma. Banana ingestion may affect dopamine production in people deficient in the amino acid tyrosine, a dopamine precursor present in bananas.
- Affected by Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) - A banana grower’s problem, this virus jumps from plant to plant through aphids. It stunts leaves, resulting in a "bunched" appearance. Generally, an infected plant does not produce fruit, although mild strains exist which allow some production. These mild strains are often mistaken for malnourishment, or a disease other than BBTV. There is no cure; however, its effect can be minimized by planting only tissue-cultured plants, controlling aphids, and immediately removing and destroying infected plants.