Musella lasiocarpa or Chinese Yellow. At one time this rare banana was thought to be extinct in the wild in its native home in Yunnan, China. In its homeland, the name for this banana translates to “yellow lotus emerging from earth”.
It has a single thick pseudostem, broad at the base and tapering toward the tip, grows up to 56 feet tall and is topped with dark green, 3- to 4 feet-long leaves. Chinese Yellow is prized by plant collectors for the exotic, waxy inflorescence that emerges at the plant’s top and resembles a golden, 8 inches-wide artichoke; it can last all summer. Clusters of small true flowers peek out between the bracts. After flowering, the original pseudo, the stem dies, but suckers sprout from the base. This is a plant that is best enjoyed as an oddity. During the course of flowering, it may drop its foliage and look like a big yellow starfish sitting atop a stump, but it can still stop traffic.
Its butter-yellow inflorescence is unmatched in show and the bracts are stiff and waxy and may last up to nine months on the plant. On some plants, 2 or 3 inflorescences are produced. Because of its temperate origin, it may prove very hardy, but since it hasn’t been widely tested, you’ll need to proceed with caution. It produces small, fuzzy, rounded, nearly flat, seeded, and inedible bananas and is highly recommended for unique flowers, foliage, and form. Chinese Yellow clumps tightly as it grows and does not run.