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Cold Hardy Bananas This forum is dedicated to the discussion of bananas that are able to grow and thrive in cold areas. You'll find lots of tips and discussions about keeping your bananas over the winter.


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Old 01-05-2009, 03:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

UPDATE June 3, 2009: Dr. Parmar has informed Chong and myself that he is not able to provide a phytosanitary certificate with shipments of these bananas. If your importation requires such a certifiate, please take this into consideration.

Dr. Parmar of India noticed my discussion of bananas in another discussion group and asked me to introduce this cold hardy banana discussed on a site he has started. You can view his site's information at HILL BANANA, but I will also post all of the information here as he has requested.

I have not seen this discussed here previously. Is anyone familiar with it?





Family: Musaceae

Common name: Pahari kela

Hill banana is a plant of very common occurrence in the hills of North West India at elevations between 800 to 1500 m. This part has climate ranging between subtropical and temperate. The summer temperatures are around 30-32 C and the winter temperatures can go down upto -3 C. Many areas in this part also receive mild snow fall once or twice the season.

So hill banana is a very unusual banana. It is growing in this area which should not be a “banana area” considering the usual behavior of the common commercial banana varieties. It is certainly different in its behavior and has a trait of cold resistance.

Surprisingly, this banana is not known at all outside its habitat even in India.

Description:

The plants are of medium height banana plants and do not look different from the plants of commercial varieties so far as pseudostems and leaves are concerned. There is no apparent single distinguishing feature that might separate the hill banana from the commercial bananas.



The fruits are thicker and larger sized than the common commercial cultivars like Poovan and Morataman. Bunches are, however, not very big. So this banana seems to be less productive. The reason for this difference may be the lack of care of plants. All the hill banana plants are growing just all by themselves and are not looked after at all. The productivity might improve if these plants are grown and looked after like cultivated plants.

The difference between a hill banana and commercial bananas, however, lies in pulp and fruit quality. The pulp of hill bananas is not as dry as that of commercial types. It is more watery and is less erect after peeling off the skin. It is somewhat leathery and does not break easily.



Ripe fruits of hill banana

The taste is also slightly different. It is sweet but with a tinge of sourness.

There is feeling of heaviness in stomach after eating two fruits. So these bananas cannot be eaten as much as the commercial bananas.

Utilization:

The hill banana used to be the only banana available in the hills till 50 years ago when the other banana was not reaching there due to lack of roads and adequate goods transport facilities. So this was used like other bananas. Things changed drastically in India during the past 50 years and now the bananas from South and West India are available in the fruit shops of even every small village. So the hill banana is not in much demand now. Some fruits are still offered for sale at some places. This banana is also used for preparing a sweet vegetable curry eaten along with rice in the hills of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

Cultivation:

Hill banana plants are still planted in the back yards of village homes. There are some important other uses of a banana tree besides food, especially in religious ceremonies. So this banana is going to stay in spite of the competition from commercial bananas from tropical parts.

This banana can be planted in the areas which are too cold for the commercial tropical banana varieties.

Hill banana is a valuable genetic resource and it should be utilized.



Thanks for viewing,

Harvey
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Last edited by harveyc : 06-03-2009 at 12:15 PM. Reason: Added info about phytosanitary certifiates not being available
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

Thanks for sharing this, Harvey. Very impressive banana! Though probably better for cooking if it leaves you with a heavy feeling. That is what happens when you eat raw Saba.

Quest for another banana?

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Old 01-05-2009, 04:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

This species seems to be very much interesting. There are so nice bananas
in India that can be grown in the marginal areas where I live.
But the question is how they can be obtained.
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

Thanks Harvey, this ones on my "must have" list. Cold tolerant and Hill's my last name!
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

If someone has an import permit, Dr. Parmar said he could send some corms summer. I don't feel like getting involved with that so I did not get into the cost. His contact information is located at It is being endeavored through this website to have basic introductory information about all the edible fruits of the world.

UPDATE: See comments down below at Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India - Bananas.org before contacting Dr. Parmar. We don't need a whole truckload of these plants shipped over here.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

Interesting banana Harvey, thanks for bringing it to our board. Cold-hardy edibles are on the top of so many members' lists.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

Pete and I were chatting and we're thinking that Chong should import the banana and spread the cost out on a group purchase!

Who else might be up for the task?
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

I am definitely in on this one!
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Definately count me in, I'm good for whatever reasonable expense.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

Quote:
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Definately count me in, I'm good for whatever reasonable expense.
Me too!
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

And the list goes on . . . . LOL!
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

Would be interested depending on cost!
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Old 01-05-2009, 06:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

I too would be interested.

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Old 01-06-2009, 07:16 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

If these can be sent across the pond, Count me in too please.

We are currently experiencing - 7 at the moment so cold hardy bananas would feel right at home.
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

If we can get these at a reasonable cost, I will be putting them into TC as soon as possible. I would think that we can send TC liners to you across the pond but have to do some more checking. Anyone know the rules?
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:53 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

I sent an email to Dr. Parmar. I have eAuthentication, so it shouldn't be too difficult to get a permit.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:31 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

Just a head's up to others. Chong, who has an import permit, has already been in contact with Dr. Parmar and has received a quote for services and estimated shipping costs. The harvest season for the pups is reported to be in June so we've got plenty of time. A few of us will probably front the costs for the import and Scot will put some into tissue culture so we can get these out to everyone who is interested. Hopefully, Scot can collect the money to recoup our costs (profit isn't our objective).
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:40 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

I know I got into this late, but I will also offer financial support for the chance to get my hands on a cold hardy-ish edible.

Cheers,

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Old 01-07-2009, 03:40 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

absolutely, count me in. Would be happy to fund a quantity for 'european distribution' I have a DEFRA permit so shipping in/out not a problem. I will ask my source in India if he is familiar with this cultivar.
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Old 01-07-2009, 04:02 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hill Banana ("Pahari kela") from India

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chironex View Post
If we can get these at a reasonable cost, I will be putting them into TC as soon as possible. I would think that we can send TC liners to you across the pond but have to do some more checking. Anyone know the rules?
Hi Scot

the only comment would make here is that, in buying corms from local Indian Farmers/growers we are in a way giving back. As you know I don't disagree with TC. especially where growers seem unwilling to make plants available e.g. 'Natural Products'. I just think if the Indians are prepared to sell plants at a reasonable cost then that should negate the need for TC.
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