In the drier areas of Asia where the wild and seedy Musa balbisiana predominates, a parallel evolutionary development occurred which led to the appearance of pure diploid and triploid balbisiana cultivars first recognized in the Philippines.
Musa balbisiana includes not only wild forms but numerous cultivated varieties. The range of Musa balbisiana extends over Sri Lanka, India, Java, Malaysia, Burma and Thailand. Musa balbisiana grows widely from sea-level up to 900 m.
The Pali chronicle Mahavamsa, written in the 5th century AD, cites its occurrence there under the name ‘ettikehel’. It was suggested that this wild species may have been the ancestor of the numerous seedless forms now in cultivation and distinguished from each other by differences in the shape and color of the fruits.
Seeds of Musa balbisiana, parent of many commercial edible bananas varieties, are dark brown, ovoid, about 4 mm (0.2 in) long, with conspicuous white powdery endosperm.