Banana (Musa spp.) Domestication in the Asia-Pacific Region: Linguistic and archaeobotanical perspectives

Mark Donohue, Tim Denham

Abstract


An examination of linguistic terms for ‘banana’ within Island Southeast Asia and Melanesia sheds light on the history of Musa spp. domestication. Linguistic investigations suggest a westward dispersal of banana from New Guinea, mixing with a Philippine variety (or at least sphere of cultural usage), then westward again to mainland Southeast Asia, and (as far as can be linguistically inferred) onward to the western edge of South Asia. The linguistically-derived interpretation accords generally with the archaeobotanical evidence and botanical models for the dispersal of banana cultivars.

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