The Plantain Flower (Musa × paradisiaca) with immature plantains. These are from the 'Praying Hands' cultivar. Cooking bananas are often informally referred to as plantains. Plantains are a major food staple in East Africa, West and Central Africa (Cameroon), Central America, the Caribbean and northern, coastal parts of South America. The flower has a very long stalk which begins to grown upwards, but after time, it begins to hang down. ISO 160; f/11; 1/200; @400mm
Different kinds of bananas: from left to right: plantain, red banana, apple banana, and Cavendish banana (GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 by TimothyPilgrim). I have been documenting banana flowers for the last 5 months. See A Banana Flower Fest here.
Here's the plant seen growing downwards. It will bloom several times and produce more plantains as it blooms. The stalk just keeps getting longer and longer. Plantains may be steamed, boiled, grilled, baked, or fried. They are more starchy and less sugary than the regular commercial bananas. The plantain is either simply fried, boiled or added to a soup. "Worldwide, there is no sharp distinction between "bananas" and "plantains". Especially in the Americas and Europe, "banana" usually refers to soft, sweet, dessert bananas, particularly those of the Cavendish group, which are the main exports from banana-growing countries. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called "plantains"". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bananahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana ISO 160; f/11; 1/200; @400mm.
Close-up of Musa × paradisiaca ISO 160; f/11; 1/200; @400mm
High key image of Musa × paradisiaca showing both male and female parts of the flower. ISO 160; f/11; 1/400; @115mm
A SHORT REVIEW OF FLOWER ANATOMY:
(Crop) The stamens are the long filaments which are the male part of the flower. Here they are seen as the very tiny long structures inside of the stigmas (the yellow female parts). They are made up of the filament and anther, which is the pollen producing part of the plant. The number of stamen is usually the same as the number of petals. The pistil is the female part of the flower. It is made up of the stigma, style, and ovary. The stigma here is the white sticky bulb that you see in the center of the flower, it is the part of the flower which receives the pollen grains and on which they germinate. Each pistil is constructed of one to many rolled leaflike structures (petals), which in this flower can be seen as the yellow petals. ISO 160; f/11; 1/200; @400mm
The Musa × paradisiaca is a monoecious flower, meaning both male and female flowers live on the plant. ISO 160; f/11; 1/200; @400mm