The morphology of the banana inflorescence has been described as a long terminal raceme, a terminal panicle, and a serial flower assemblage. Mclean Thompson proposed that the banana inflorescence was an aerial stem with spirally arranged leaves in the axils of which grow cones of flowers. The observations of Abraham Fahn contest this hypothesis and favor another hypothesis also proposed by Thompson in which the flower-groups are cincinni. Our research has examined inflorescence development in Musa velutina. Musa is monecious, containing unisexual flowers arranged in hands. The number of flowers per hand varies. Each hand develops in the axil of a primary bract and consists of two rows of flowers. The entire inflorescence is made up of a definite number of female hands, a small number of transitional hands, and an indefinite number of male hands. Based on his observations of Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana, Fahn suggests that the sequence of flower initiation begins with the primordium farthest right in the adaxial row. This is followed by the development of the primordium directly adjacent to the first. The third is the right most primordium in the abaxial row. He suggests the sequence continues to alternate, adaxial to abaxial, throughout the hand. Our research does not wholly agree with these findings. Many of the hands we studied demonstrate the sequence of flower initiation beginning from the center of the hand and progressing outward. In many instances the right-most flower appears to be younger than the flower adjacent to it. While we have observed the adaxial-abaxial arrangement of flowers we have not observed development of flower primordia following an alternating sequence between the rows.

Key words: banana, development, inflorescence, morphology, Musa