Location: San Diego, CA
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Re: Banana pictures/descriptions all the same online?
When I started We Be Bananas a few years ago there were only about 100 banana pix online, anywhere, and many were duplicates. So I started posting pix of my plants, fruit, etc., not knowing how many were labeled correctly (or not) - but it was somewhere to start from. It is nice, now, with bananas.org, that more people are taking and posting pix.
So when you see those old pix that have floated around for a long time, and when you see them on Ebay, TyTy, and other places, you can pretty much figure that if they don't have their own pix, then don't have much, if any experieince with what they are selling, and buying from them is probably a crap-shoot. Maybe they don't even grow them, just buy them and sell them and never know what they actually bought or what they sold to you, other than something that had the right name on the container.
I have been to nurseries where they are growing out tissue cultures, and there will be 100 plants all labeled the same but they are not all the same - some have red splotches or other differences that are quite pronounced. So you have to ask, how many different varieties are actually present in that 100 plants that all have the same name, but different characteristics. How many varieties are not distinuishable at that stage? So what are the odds you are getting what the label says? I have walked away more than once without parting with my money.
When I sell a banana plant, I can say, here is the parent it came from, here is what it looks like full grown, here is a pix of the fruit that it has produced, and here is what I know about it. Maybe it wasn't labeled correctly when I got it, but here is its history and track record. If it is an unknown, I can say, I don't know what its name is, but here is what it does, and if you are here on the right day, here is what it tastes like. If it tastes good, performs well, then the name doesn't always matter for someone who only wants to have one or two varietes which will produce well for them in their climate. That sort of "unknown" thing doesn't work well for the mass sellers, but works fine with one-on-one education and sales, when you can provide a track record. But if you are pushing volume, most often to people who don't have much education about bananas, it is just important that they look or sound "cool" (honey, wouldn't it be fun to grow a banans tree...) and that you ad copy or catalog looks enticing.
Similarly, when you buy a Dave Wilson tree, they actually made it, so they know what it is. Many catalog nurseries just buy "stock" and have no clue if it is labeled right or if the wholesaler/source put the name you ordered on 100 of whatever trees, because they needed to fill an order for 100 of that "name/label".
The dark side of the nursery trade. Caveat emptor.