Scarlet banana is cultivated in tropical climates around the world, including Colombia (where this photo was taken). Its native range, however, is restricted to southeastern China and Vietnam. Of note, it is now extinct in the wild in Guangdong.
Musa coccinea is also refered to as red-flowering banana or red torch banana. The species was described, and scientific name published, by English botanist Henry Charles Andrews in 1799.
Scarlet banana is in the same family as other bananas and plantains. While its fruit is edible to humans, it has not achieved widespread cultivation for such use (perhaps it is not as rich in sugars or starches?). Other animals make use of it, though. For example, scarlet banana is pollinated by bats. Bat pollination, or chiropterophily, occurs in only 67 plant families (out of ~450 families).
Musa coccinea is an evergreen perennial species that produces vibrant ornamental flowers. In summertime, cylindrical yellow flowers appear, nestled within the bright red bracts. There are approximately six floral bracts in each column, with female flowers hidden by the lower bracts and male flowers hidden among the topmost. A monocot, the plants do not produce true wood; instead they form non-waxy pseudostems, reaching a height of 1-2m (3-6ft.) high. The rounded leaves are green, growing approximately 1m in length and 25cm (10 in.) across. Scarlet bananas are suckering plants, with numerous root sprouts growing near the base of the mother plant. The fruits of scarlet banana are orange when ripe and oblong in shape, perhaps 5cm (2 in.) long by 2.25 cm across.