Wonders of the Banana?

ksha(z9 CA)August 25, 2006

Hello everyone, I've just begun the Environmental Horticulture program at City College of San Francisco. Our first class project is a presentation about some kind of plant or group of plants that is important to human society. I have chosen BANANAS!!! And what better place to go for information about bananas than here? I will be doing plenty of research elsewhere, but thought I'd ask you banana growers for your imput, if you would. I plan to outline the habitats and growth patterns of banana plants, personal and commercial cultivation for food purposes, and the different ways in which the banana plant is used aside from food. I am particularly interested in banana plant parts as building material.

I should be able to find all the basic information through research, but I'd be happy to hear from you about any special or particularly interesting things about bananas, plantains, or anything else in the family. Growth habits, food uses, and material uses. I have only started looking today, and don't know much at all, so I hope you'll tell me some cool things and I can't wait to see what they'll be. THANK YOU!!!!

-Acacia

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dirt_dew(z9 az)

Search-
Abaca banana, manila hemp banana, musa textilis, musa balbisiana and you will find some interesting material. What are manila folders, some coffee filters, and manila rope made from, do you know?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 2:18PM
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moonie_57

One little tidbit of info you might not find just everywhere... when I was a teenager and lived in Central America, kids used banana paper to roll joints. It was rather harsh on the lungs.. or so I heard. :)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 11:28PM
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joereal(Ca z9/SS z14)

Look at the site in the link below. This is one truly unbeatable site when it comes to information about bananas. There are more than 1,000 banana varieties. Some of the bananas are oozing blood-colored sap when cut. Bananas make good beer or wine, and of course the non-alcoholic beverages such as banana shake, banana flavored drinks, and banana mixed with other fruits such as peach, orange, strawberries, pineapples, etc., make wonderful drinks.

Some Basic Facts:
The largest non-woody plant in the world, some taller than 65 ft (Musa ingens) and 6 ft pseudostem diameter
Not a tree but a large herb with succulent juicy stem or trunk (technically called pseudostem)
Fruit is a type of berry
4th largest fruit crop in the world. 28 millions tons/year, 65% Latin Americas, 27% SE Asia, 7% Africa
Staple food of 400 million people
Origin: Indo Malaysian region to Northern Australia
Spread by aborigines during prehistoric times. All types found in the Pacific islands, Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin Americas can be traced back to eastern Indonesia.
Carried to Europe in 10th century AD, spread further by Portuguese from West Africa and to South America.

Click the link below to find out more.

Here is a link that might be useful: World's Best Banana Site.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 1:08PM
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ksha(z9 CA)

Thank you guys for your suggestions so far! I have started research of the things you've mentioned and my interest is only growing. Thanks for the link to that wonderful site, great information and pictures there. Keep 'em coming if you can. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 4:13PM
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kerrican2001(z9b CA)

You should contact one of the local tropical nurseries that carry bananas, like Golden Gate Palms in Point Richmond. They can tell you all about how they grow. And if you look closely around the city, you should see them growing here and there in gardens. I know of several huge clumps in Berkeley, near Ashby and San Pablo, and then also on Fifth Street one block from the Fourth Street shops.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 12:08PM
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microfarmer(z9 Sac-o-tomato)

There are textile bananas that are made into many products like skirts, baskets, and other household products.

Don't forget about the hundreds of years the polynesians used banana leaves to cook food in, and to wrap and preserve foods in.

Banana leaves also were wrapped around baby plants and corms when the islanders set out to populate new islands around the Pacific to protect them on the voyage.

Good luck with your class.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 8:55PM
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ksha(z9 CA)

Thank you so much everyone!!! I have pretty much finished my research and now I know how and where the plants grow, who eats them, and what they use the fibers for. I'm making my presentation next Thursday and to make it interesting for the class, I want to give them something they can (literally) sink their teeth into ;) and I'd like to show them something made of Abaca fibers if I can. If you want, you can give me some of your favorite recipies using bananas or plantains. Keep in mind I'll be feeding about 30 people and have to give everyone at least a taste.

Thanks so much Joreal for the link to the INIBAP site, what a wonderful bunch of banana information (pun intended, LOL). Kerrican, yes I've seen banana plants around town and I'm very interested in the way they grow here in our climate. It's surprising to me to see that some of them actually flower and attempt to make bananas, which are usually small and underdeveloped. Amazingly enough, I saw a banana plant growing outside a Thai restaurant that had fully formed plump fruits on it. I wonder how they made that happen. Thank you for the tip about Golden Gate Palms, I hadn't heard of that place but I will definately make a visit this weekend.

Again, thank you to all of you who contributed to this thread. I fully appreciate your help!!!!!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 3:00PM
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ksha(z9 CA)

One more thing you might like, I found a site with beautiful banana pictures. I bet a lot of you like to stare at banana pics, so here's the link, enjoy!

Here is a link that might be useful: Banana photos

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 3:36PM
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