Cooking bananas are banana cultivars in the genus Musa whose fruits are generally used in cooking. They may be eaten while ripe or unripe and are generally starchy. Some cooking bananas are also referred to as green bananas or plantains
The term "plantain" is loosely applied to any banana cultivar that is eaten when cooked. However, there is no formal botanical distinction between bananas and plantains. Cooking is also a matter of custom, rather than necessity. Ripe plantains can be eaten raw, since the starches are converted to sugars as they ripen. In some countries, there may be a clear distinction between plantains and bananas, but in other countries, where many more cultivars are consumed, the distinction is not made in the common names used. In more formal usage, the term "plantain" is used only for "true" plantains, while other starchy cultivars also used for cooking are called "cooking bananas".