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Cavendish Banana


Uses : Edible, Forage. Native to : Southeast Asia
     Cavendish Bananas do not really grow well here in West Florida. Actually they grow very well with plenty of supplementary water during the dry period and protection from freezing in the winter. So I'm saying they need a lot of care to thrive this far north of the Caribbean. A truly beautiful plant, bananas are the idealization of the word 'tropical'. Cavendish bananas are a dwarf variety more suited to the home landscape. It should be planted in the wettest, warmest place in your property, sheltered from cold winds in the winter. It can handle full sun if receiving enough water. High winds will rip the leaves, but the 'trees' seem no worse for wear.
     My father thinks that they need to have two long growing seasons with a frost-free winter in between in order to have fruit. It sounds reasonable, as my bananas have never had a flower and neither have his. When I lived in Riverside, Jacksonville, one of my neighbors had a Cavendish that had flowers and then fruit, and it was beautiful. I can only guess that their yard had a very excellent micro climate.
       Because the fruits of the plant lack viable seeds, propagation is via the new shoots the plant creates like bamboo. It is said that you can tell a plant has been in cultivation for a long time when it can no longer reproduce sexually but requires humans to transplant. Like taro. Actually these bananas have a lot in common with taro as they are grown in similar parts of the world and prefer moist, humid conditions.
     Perhaps most people are pretty familiar with the banana, but did you know the skin/peel is edible as well? In Africa a banana wine is produced, for local consumption only, apparently, and is known for being one of the most nutritious of fermented foods as the wine contains most of the B vitamins and some of the potassium the original bananas had. Dehydrated banana chips are also very nutritious and have a long shelf life if made properly. Plantains, bananas' sister, are used in the same way potatoes are.
     Banana leaves are used in Africa to wrap foods in like a packaging, and as disposable plates. Some people wrap meats in banana leaves before baking for added tenderness and flavor. The leaves can be used for thatching and are frequently used as a natural umbrella. Leaves and pseudostems make a decent fodder for ruminants, but are not complete nutritionally. One source recommends banana pseudostems and sweet potato vines in combination, or urea. Ick.

IFAS - Bananas

1 comment:

Fabafruit said...

This is good and very interesting information. Thanks for sharing! Nice banana tree pic.. Philippine Cavendish Bananas