California gold

jon1949(z7 north tx.)August 11, 2005

Hi, A California gold banana is available on ebay for $20.00.I got one last year and it is a fast growing banana.There not available that often. john

Here is a link that might be useful: ebay auction

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bananalover(GA z7b)

I saw that. Can someone tell me how large they get and more about them?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 5:55PM
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joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

Here's from that link:
"A bit about the California Gold Banana
The California Gold Banana is believed to be related to Orinoco.
I grow both Dwarf Orinoco and California Gold. The California Gold get's a bit taller (6-7ft) than Dwarf Orinoco(5-6ft) and yields more hands of fruit. Cold hardiness seems to be the
same. California Gold is a bit Tastier."

and here's from pitangadiego's site:


There is one fruiting banana that bears fruit consistently year after year. It was grown and identified by Jeff Earl in Modesto. It can survive 20 F temperature and still bears delicious fruit the summer that follows. Jeff calls this California Gold Banana. I suspect that it is a cold-hardy mutation of dwarf orinoco cultivar growing prolificly in the high altitude and low temperature areas around Mexico and Texas. Here's a quote from one of the lucky winners of eBay when Jeff auctioned his pup: "Rare Dwarf banana plant that is proven to be the cold hardiest of all edible fruit-producing bananas in Northern California. An excellent cold hardy sport of dwarf orinoco, distantly related to Bluggoe. For more than 10 years, this banana has consistently produced an average of 25 lbs of good tasting yellow fruit in Northern California, thus nicknamed "California Gold" - a real cold hardy fruit producer. Exceptionally frost hardy compared to other bananas, produces good fruit, year after year, without any frost protection. Only a few banana plants might equal the cold hardiness of California Gold, such as the inedible Japanese fiber banana Musa basjoo. Cavendish type banana plants such as Super Dwarf, Williams and Double Mahoi, and most of the other edible banana plants will freeze to the ground and die during the cold winter spells when left outside without any winter protection. The California Gold banana shakes off the cold. It may lose its' leaves after a hard freeze, but then continues to grow when the weather warms in the spring. The leaves lost during the winter don?t seem to slow this plant down. California Gold have produced tasty bananas outdoors during the summer after enduring winter low temp in the low 20?s! These plants should be able grow fine in USDA zone 7 and above as an outdoor plant. They have been fruited as far north as Washington State and British Columbia with only minor winter protection. The mature plant is small only 5-6 ft tall. Some of plants have produced fruit in as early as 11 months from a pup. This exotic looking plant makes a stunning tropical impression in any garden as well as a lovely indoor potted plant. Delicious fruits rival any store bought fruit in quality and flavor, with just a hint of lemon and strawberry. " I'm dying to get hold of this very rare banana that has just been shared by Jeff Earl after more than 20 years of testing in Modesto. (906) [L]et me clarify a few things. #1 ... Is the banana that I call California gold one in the same as Dwarf Orinoco? ... Answer, I honestly don't know. My guess is that they are in the same family... as is Ice Cream, Blue Java , Blugo etc. It was labeled "Hardy Mexican Apple banana" But the guy I bought it from said that he gave it the name. The fruit looks like its' in the Orinoco family. It has fruited at 4 ft tall and as high as 7 ft. I bought the parent banana before anyone ever mentioned Dwarf Orinoco or even regular Orinoco. Bananas are one plant that mutate very easily. So I gave it the name. It does differ a little from dwarf orinocos in that they are generally all 6 ft tall when fruiting size. To me Cal Gold fruit is a little more rounded. As far as frost hardiness... They seem simular. Though Cagold is generally the first to start growing in the spring... about the same time as Musa Basjoo. While I have thought about tissue culturing this banana,I haven't looked into it yet. I'm still not sure that it is any cold hardier than Orinoco. Our temps haven't been cold enough to compare the two side by side. As for CalGold's hardiness, about all that I can say is that in my garden, it seems about right on par with musa Basjoo and Orinoco. Both tend to freeze right at the same temps as well as recover at the same time in the spring after a freeze. As I said before, CaGold Looks like its' in the same family as Orinoco, Blugoe, and Blue Java. As It has been stated before.... Bananas mutate readily, but I doubt that is much more frost hardier unless frost hardiness characteristic mutates within a cultivar as well. Those of you in the cooler zones will have to try it and let me know. I most likely will be back on Ebay selling pups next spring. As always the min. bid will be a reasonable $19 per 2 ft pup. I rarely have enough pups from the 3 plants that I grow to supply the demand. This tends to send the bidding up to silly levels at times. (914) California Gold - I think is a sport or a favorable mutation of Dwarf Orinoco. This was recognized by Jeff Earl, but still we don't have genetic proof that it is a sport. The main difference is that the California Gold consistently fruits every year in the Central Valley unlike the regular Dwarf Orinoco which require proper timing for successful fruiting. California Gold has been shown by Jeff to bloom and fruit even after the record breaking cold spell in the Central Valley when the night time temperature reaches 10 to 12 deg F and most pipes broke about a decade ago. Most other growers scoff at Jeff Earl: that [what] he is selling is still Dwarf Orinoco because the fruit and taste are really no different. Especially if you are growing this plant in Zone 10 and above, then there is really no added benefit. But because of the consistency of fruit production, this I think is something to consider for us here in the north. I bought California Gold at an eBay auction and it was really pricey, the price for a small pup ranged between $35-$115. Nevertheless, I also have the original Dwarf Orinoco and is now comparing it side by side with California Gold. (???) Here's my research on California Gold: Rare Dwarf banana plant that is proven to be the cold hardiest of all edible fruit-producing bananas in Northern California. An excellent cold hardy sport of dwarf orinoco, distantly related to Bluggoe. For more than 10 years, this banana has consistently produced an average of 25 lbs of good tasting yellow fruit in Northern California, thus nicknamed "California Gold - a real cold hardy fruit producer". I don`t think there is any thing special or rare about this banana plant. I don`t think its' a mutation of Dwarf Orinoco. I think it IS Dwarf Orinoco. It is NOT a dessert type supermarket banana. It has to be VERY ripe if you want just peel it and eat it. It`s a great banana for cool areas. If you can`t get one from Jeff, you might try getting one from Going Bananas. (913) Jeff Earl also has a dwarf orinoco but is not as cold hardy as his California Gold. If you know about CRFG, some folks there confirmed that there is a big cold hardiness difference between dwarf orinoco and "California Gold" I also have dwarf orinoco which got wiped out during the record breaking cold spell sometime in the early 90's, but Jeff's banana shook off that record breaking cold spell in the valley. (906)

HEIGHT: 5-6' (906), 6' (914)
HIGHLIGHTS: Cold-hardiness.

Probably it is a type ABB

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 6:37PM
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Casa_Del_Gatos(z8 AL)

Posted by jon1949 z7 north tx. (My Page) on Thu, Aug 11, 05 at 14:42
Hi, A California gold banana is available on ebay for $20.00.

Not anymore! (Grin) I couldn't resist!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 7:46PM
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joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

That is a very good deal! There are non-edible musa rojos for sale at Home Depot, and are about $30 and the same size as that California Gold from Mike. A couple of years ago, the Ca Gold sold by Jeff, fetched for more than $100 at eBay.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 8:42PM
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jon1949(z7 north tx.)

Hi, below is a picture of C.hardy, and Texas star side by side.john

Here is a link that might be useful: pictures

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 10:57AM
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Guys ... Guys... GUYS!

I read the above description of the CalGold banana.

Better than half of it was made up by god knows who...

All that I can say is...The banana is a very good eating banana to try for marginal climates... say down to the lower 20's as an extreme. ( it may freeze to the ground below about 25f to 23f depending on the the duration... I had the main trunk survive 22.9f one year but it was looking bad until the spring.
Yes... I do get fruit this plant every year. Even when the temps dip to 25f or so.
As with anything one ebay, when buying a plant... buyer beware... you never know what you are going to get.
Mike from Bananavilla is pretty trustworthy and yes, I did sell him a couple of pups and from I heard he has fruited it several times where he lives... an area where fruiting bananas are unheard of.

As for the question that keeps popping up... Is this plant the same as Dwarf Orinoco? Side by side.. CalGold seems more vigorous, more stout and the fruit is less square. My Calgold plants also seem to start growing first in the spring. I will say that I believe that CalGold is is in the Orinoco family. As I think Ice Cream, Cardaba, and Blue Java. Other than that... we'll have to leave the genetics up to trained botanists.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 3:25AM
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paxetamor(7b Abilene TX)

Are these the real deal or a product of creative huckstering, looking for a fall guy?

If the real thing, I would be interested in one at a reasonable price.

Interested in a Musa Texas Star as well.

Thanking you in advance, Mick -- Abilene, TX

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 8:46AM
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microfarmer(z9 Sac-o-tomato)

Hi all.

I have a CA Gold from Jeff Earl that I went to Modesto to pick up in person.

I found Jeff to be a very nice host and very proud of his CA Gold bananas. He has a small plantation of about a dozen plants, and can prolly sell only about 6-12 pups a year. They grow about 5-7 ft tall at the top of the P-stem, with 3' long leaves.

He is not in it for the money, or these would be selling for what an AEAE sells for, TC'd, (or he would have many more mother plants to pull pups from). He just wants to share this particular variant so it'll be preserved thru diversity and geography.

The descriptions of the plant are his own and he states just that in his ads, along with the history of his original plant as he knows it.

I have seen the conditions he grows in and these are not wrapped up and protected thru the winters. They are left to their own and do very well. They are not fawned over or babied. He provides them with loose Modesto dirt (of a clay like nature, not blended mixes), plenty of water and ferts, and an occasional pruning and pup removal. The rest is up to the plants.

Whether the history is accurate or not is debatable and can never be proven short of a dna map, but the authenticity of his claims to it being very cold hardy are true.

I am growing a CA Gold, a Dw. Orinoco, and Manzano. I will need some time to tell if they are the same, similar, or completly different. I'll post my personal findings on the forum in the future, but for now, I'd be happy to get just a single bunch of bananas from any of my plants. Tell me I don't have to wait for next year...

Just my 2 cents...not affiliated with Jeff Earl (other than a couple emails and a visit to pick up my pup) nor do I get a kickback for every plant sold...yada...blah de blah blah...

Only the first name is similar...

Thanks for listening...

Jeff (Conestogaman) Soucek

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 5:38PM
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I've been researching on the likeness/differences of the Texas Star and Cali Gold banana's.
I currently have dwarf Orinoco's.
I tried to view the pics...they are not available, probably due to the age of this thread.
Anyone else care to toss in any comments or data?

Thanks! ~Cheryl

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 11:31AM
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I have banana trees up in NorCal, 3 or 4 different varieties and they fruit constantly up here. I do not protect my banana's either. They get freezing temps and come back in march.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 3:27PM
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I live in the Pacific northweat area. I've got dwarf orinoco and Cal Gold. Last winter I left one of my Cal Gold out with protection. We had one of the worse winter (about 20 or a little lower) so it died and didn't come back. I grow the other one in the ground the same time as dwarf orinoco, and it's very obvious that Cal Gold isn't doing as well. I noticed that it grows slowly as compared to orinoco. I don't think Cal Gold is as hardy as it was led to believe. But I know that a lot of people said otherwise.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:04AM
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Thank You us marine & winsorw!

us marine, what are the varieties that you have that are doing so well, if you'd be willing to share?

winsorw, I have heard many good things on the DO.

I have seen the Cali Gold on EBay...will wait & research some more!

Has anyone experienced the Dwarf Namwah yet??
I just put 2 in pots!!! YAY!!!
Thanks Everyone! ~Cheryl

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 12:28PM
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I believe one is a dwarf variety that you can buy from home depot or walmart. Another variety gets tall, like 13ft+ tall, but grows the small apple bananas. I have lady finger variety, and a few orinoco's. I noticed many other places that have many different varieties, and sizes.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 6:37PM
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Thanks Everyone! :) ~Cheryl

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 10:23PM
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