Thursday, 19 September 2013 15:33

How do Bananas grow?

A banana shoot dies after it produces just one bunch of bananas...

 

  • Latin Name:

    Musa x paridasiaca

  • Growth:

    How do bananas grow?

    USDA Hardiness Zones 9B to 11. Click here to view USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map.

    < p>Bananas are fast growing herbaceous perennials.  They grow best in humid tropical regions.

    A tree can grow 8 to 12 leaves up to 9 ft long and 2 ft wide. Bananas grow in bunches that consist of a variable number of "hands" along a central stem.

    The season is restricted to tropical climate conditions.

    Spring: Tree is productive, flower and fruit grow.

    Summer:With increased rainfall, 4 leaves grow per month.

    Fall:Tree is productive with average temperature of 80 degrees, and a mean rainfall of 4in. 

    Winter: Due to less rainfall, the banana tree produces one leaf per month

    Dole: The Developement and Care of Bananas

  • Propagation:

    How are bananas propagated?

    Banana trees grow out of corms (or rhizomes) that have multiple buds, that develop into fruit bearing shoots.

    A rhizome is an underground stem with numerous meristems (growing points) from which the pseudostems, flowering and fruiting stalks, and fibrous roots arise. These corms can be transplanted to start brand new trees.

    Banana seeds are used for propagation only in breeding programs.

    Dole- Planting and Cultivating Bananas

  • Harvest:

    When are bananas harvested?

    Fruits appear 60 to 90 days after flowers first appear. The bunches of fruit are harvested when the fruit changes to a light green color, 75% away from being completely ripe.

    The fruit quality is determined by size, length, thickness, freedom from blemish, evenness of ripening, and the arrangement of clusters on the stem.

    Dole- Harvesting Bananas

  • Storage:

    How do you store bananas?

    Bananas bruise easily, therefore need to be handled with care. Bruising is minimized by placing the fruit into plastic sleeves, padding, and a minimum amount of handling.

    Green bananas can be stored around 7 days at room temperature and up to 20 days in the refrigerator.

  • History:

    Where do bananas come from?

    Bananas originated in the southeast Asian tropics, where they have been cultivated for thousands for years. They are believed to have been introduced to Ecuador and Portugal in 200 B.C, and soon the Spanish settlers brought them to the New World.

    Bananas were introduced to Florida in the 16th century. Its subtropical climate allows Florida to be one of the only states (besides Hawaii), where banana production is commercialized, supplying local and regional markets.

  • Top Producers:

    Which countries produce the most bananas?

    India 16.8% (By far the largest producer with 32 million metric tons)

    Brazil 6.7%

    China 6.4%

    Ecuador 5.9%

    Philippines 5.8%

    World production has increased 175% over the last 30 years.

  • Varieties:

    Are there different kinds of bananas?

    There are an extensive number of cultivars. They are classified into several main groups and subgroups.

    The main group 'Sucrier' has small, thin-skinned, sweet fruits. It is grown in Southeast Asia and New Guinea. The smallest banana, the 'Lady Finger', is a popular variety of this group, and is most common in Latin America.

    Secondly, a widely cultivated variety is the 'Gros Michel' originally from Thailand, Burma, and Indochina. It is a larger, taller plant, that bears long bunches of yellow fruits.

    The 'Cavendish' subgroup includes several popular bananas, including the 'Dwarf Cavendish,' 'Apple,' and 'Orinoco' bananas, cultivars most often grown in Florida.

    DOLE- Different Banana Varieties

  • Products:

    What are the main uses for bananas?

    Bananas have become an important staple food for approximately 400 million people!

    Bananas are used in variety of ways, at all stages of development and ripening. From simply being peeled and hand eaten, to being cut and served in salads, fruit cups, custards, ice-creams, chips, gelatins, breads, muffins,and cream pies.

    Bananas may be baked or broiled, and served as a garnish for vegetable and meat dishes.

    In the South Pacific islands, unripe bananas are baked whole on hot stones, wrapped in coconut cream and banana leaves.

    The United Fruit Company has built a processing plant in La Lima, Honduras, where they produce canned and frozen banana puree, that is then used throughout the world in frozen tarts, gelatins, and pies.

    Green bananas are commonly cooked in Central and South American countries, and eaten as a salty dish.

    Banana flour is also made by sun-drying slices of unripe fruits and pulverizing. The flour can then be mixed 50-50 with wheat flour, and used to make breads, and cakes.

    Dried banana flakes and chips are a popular snack food eaten around the world.

    The flower bud of the banana tree is often boiled whole, after being soaked for an hour in salt water, and eaten as a vegetable in curries in Malaya, and Southeast Asia.

    Banana leaves are also used to cook in and are important in some countries as part of offerings to gods.
  • Top Health Benefits:

    How are bananas good for you?

    Bananas are low in salt and high in potassium and iron.

    Due to high amounts of potassium and magnesium, bananas help prevent muscle cramps by replenishing minerals necessary to the body.

    Bananas are a great cure for stomach ulcers due to low acidity levels and help prevent gastric disturbances.

    Bananas have high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin, a chemical used by the brain to increase mood and concentration.

    Some consider bananas an aphrodisiac.