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Species Bananas Discussions of all the different wild species of banana (non edible), an aspect of the hobby that deserves its own section.


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Old 07-20-2008, 01:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Queensland bananas

I live in Queensland, but about 1500km south of where the native bananas run free.

I found this article on Queensland native bananas in http://www.wanatca.org.au/Q-Yearbook/Q07-3.pdf and it may be of interest to some collectors.

Does anyone grow these species in their collections? Becuase they are seeded bananas and I live in Queensland I can't grow them in my backyard - government regulations ban all bar a few varieties of bananas for the home enthusiast.

Native bananas of north Queensland
There are two varieties of banana which are native to north Queensland. The most common one is Musa acuminata subsp. banksii which is found from Ingham to the tip of Cape York. The second is Musa jackeyi which is extremely rare and known only from Bellenden Ker and Cooktown. They are usually found in clearings or around the edges of rainforests and along watercourses.
Wild bananas are easily distinguished from cultivated bananas because the fruits consists mainly of hard dark seeds which are 3-5mm in diameter. Sir Joseph Banks encountered the wild banana (banksii) in his travels in the 18th Century and noted in his diary that the fruit was so small and full of seed that it was scarcely edible. Musa acuminate subsp. banksii
grows to 3-4m in height, has a pendulous bunch and usually a yellow-green male bud (bell) though maroon forms exist.
Musa jackeyi grows to 4-5m in height, has an erect bunch and a green male bud. The sap is unusual, being a red colour like that of cooked beetroot. The erect bunch and red sap are characteristics of the Australimusa group of bananas to which it belongs compared to Eumusa which includes most seeded and cultivated bananas.
The Queensland Department of Primary Industries has a particular interest in the native bananas as they are known to harbour some pests and diseases of bananas which could be of consequence to the banana industry. Their reaction to black Sigatoka (present in the Torres Strait) and Panama disease (southern Queensland) is currently being assessed to determine the likely effect the native banana population may play should these diseases be introduced to north Queensland. On a more positive note the native bananas may be important germplasm for banana breeding programs.
---Jeff Daniels
Senior Horticulturist, QDPI
South Johnstone
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Old 07-20-2008, 01:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Queensland bananas

I have a small M. jackeyi plant, but it has not done very well so far. At almost 1 year old out of tissue culture, it is only about 30cm tall so far, and very thin and non vigorous. Perhaps it will pick up speed one day though, as its still very much alive, just slow.
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Old 07-22-2008, 03:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Queensland bananas

I've got a small seedling of M banksii that I got seeds froma friend of mine in Queensland. He actually distributed a fair number of seeds around the world. I know Frank also has seedlings of this one.

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Old 07-29-2008, 08:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Queensland bananas

LOL, do I ever have seedlings! 48 of them as of yesterday (Musa banksii, that is).

Leu Gardens in Orlando has this species growing there, but their plant has a maroon/purple bud. The variety we have has the more normal yellow-green bud. I have seen recent published material that Musa acuminata subsp. banksii will soon become its own species, because of genetic analysis.

I don't have the slightest hope of this one being cold-hardy, so I have no idea what I'm going to do with 48 seedlings, lol.

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Old 09-07-2008, 05:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Queensland bananas

I have an idea of what to do with one or 2 of them...I have a place all ready for them in my garden. PM me if you still have a few extra. thanks!
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