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This rare, new banana was described in 2010 from montane rainforests in the Arafak Mountains in Papua, Indonesia on the island of New Guinea between 1500 and 1800 m. It is a weakly clustering, smallish banana with a slender, blackish pseudostem to 2 m tall, ascending leaves about 1.6 m long and an upright inflorescence with a dense bunch of short, strongly angled, bright orange to reddish orange fruits. The fruit pulp is edible and delicious when cooked. In cultivation, Musa arfakiana requires conditions that would suit tree ferns rather than regular bananas. Due to its highland habitat, like many Ensete it will not grow in tropical lowland climates but succeed only at some altitude where nights are cooler, or in oceanic, warm temperate climates such as Portugal, northern New Zealand, coastal California, coastal southern Brazil or on Atlantic islands such as Madeira or the Canary Islands.