Over the last few months regular visitors to the Glasshouse would have been watching with interest the gradual formation of a big bunch of bananas. In the middle of the Tropical Zone a banana plant flowered a few months ago and Musa acuminata ‘Dwarf Cavendish’ (AAA Group) AGM has been growing bananas ever since. Yesterday we noticed the first one had ripened, meaning it was time to harvest.
In the photos you can see Matthew Pottage, David McLaughlin, Yonit Nadra- Bridgeman and 1st year trainee Becky Bevan helping to harvest, and then taste, the bananas.
The significance of this particular event is that Musa acuminata ‘Dwarf Cavendish’ is the commercial cultivar that we all eat, and this is the first time we at Wisley have produced bananas of this type.
So, the proof of the pudding, they say, is in the eating. And the verdict? Fragrant and perfumed, with a strong, intense flavour, but a disappointingly dry, powdery texture.
Don’t think that you’ve missed them all though. By removing the fruiting stem we are encouraging the ‘pups’ around its base to mature and produce a flower. (The longer we leave bananas on the parent stem the longer we have to wait for the pups to mature and flower.) If you visit the Glasshouse there are still other bananas to see, and with luck this will continue virtually constantly. Below is the pink-skinned banana Musa velutina, just one of the different types of banana you can see.