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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 08-04-2009, 03:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Question to specialist

Hi,

Maybe a classification has been done here somewhere but ;

In the "Musacea" family there are too genus
"Ensete" and "Musa".

in the genus "Musa" there is many sections with one "Eumusa".

In that section you have different species.

amI right ?

In these species you have many but 2 named "balbisiana" and "acuminata" with many underspecies (dont know how to say it in English).

The question is :

When a seedsseller is selling "Musa acuminata" seeds and " Musa balbisiana" seeds, can we know what we are buying ?

Thanks for your answer.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Question to specialist

Salut Cesar ,
I think Ensete is seeded bananas. I don't know what Eumusa is, yet.
Musa acuminata would be seeds for sweet, dessert type bananas.
Musa balbisiana would be seeds for starchy, cooking bananas.
Could use more info on Ensete & Eumusa, all you members out there. Surely somebody knows.
Hope this much helps, for now.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Question to specialist

Cesar,

The seeded banana types produce fruits that are more like a bag of marbles than the seedless varieties we eat.

You are correct about the taxonomy of names. The seedless types are all hybrids of M. acuminata either with itself, or with M. balbisiana, plus a few with yet another species. Genetically, the hybrids are classified with "A" for M.a. and "B" for M.b. From those hybrids, plants that are desirable are selected, re-propagated, and become a named cultivar. For example the fresh eating banana "Dwarf Cavendish" has genetics "AAA", "Manzano" has genetics "AAB", while the cooking banana "Silver Bluggoe" has genetics "ABB". Note that genetics are not always an indicator of fresh/cooking usage -- it is really a matter of selected cultivation. For example, "Ebun Musak" is a popular cooking banana with genetics "AAA".
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Question to specialist

When a seller is offering both M. acuminata and M. balbasiana as seeds, you can tell the difference by how the seeds look.

Tropicallvr, a member here, has made an excellent comparison chart for many seeded types.

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Old 08-07-2009, 12:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Question to specialist

hello cesar,

i think banana classification/taxonomy is one of the most complicated for a single plant family....there are hundreds of ascensions of banana being documented under M.balbisiana x M.acuminata alone...morphologically different bearing different common names depending on each country/the person tho named them...moreover, there are ascensions of species that can be grown though seeds which often designated as "varieties" and those seedless ones which are grown vegetatively are designated as "cultivars"...

Seeded bananas are usually wild varieties and if you want to cultivate bananas for food purposes its better to buy from the pups (suckers)...for me, its much more delicious plus seedless...also an assurance from buying dead/non-germinating seeds...

have fun cultivating them...
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Question to specialist

OK thanks, but lets say that we only name the principal subspecies

For acuminata
there is, I saw that somewhere ;

banksii
microcarpa
sumatrana
truncata
zebrina

Somebody knows a seller who can tell precision ? or maybe I m wrong and we dont have to worry about it ?


Special thanks to Lorax for the seeds picture that can help well.

And Birdie youre right for the deadseeds have been sold too much time, but I ve no choice Ive to go on (I dont know why, dont ask).

Other question but facultive one or bonus ; does somebody know if cultivated seeds from a specie growing in a cooler place than his birthsplace can arise the coldtolerance ? fast (1 or 2 generations) or does it takes about 1000 years to expect some changes.

Last edited by CESAR : 08-07-2009 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Question to specialist

Cesar,

Please be aware that sellers of plants and seeds are not always careful or up-to-date with species names of plants. Further, there are many species names (for Musa and otherwise) that biologists still debate among themselves.

For Musa acuminata, here is a list of species names recognized by the U.S. Germplasm Information Network. It is not necessarily a complete list of subspecies. The "==" means it is a synonym of something.

subsp. banksii == Musa banksii
subsp. burmannica
subsp. burmannicoides == Musa acuminata subsp. burmannica
subsp. errans
subsp. malaccensis
subsp. microcarpa
subsp. siamea
subsp. truncata
subsp. zebrina == Musa acuminata var. zebrina
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Question to specialist

Quote:
Originally Posted by CESAR View Post
OK thanks, but lets say that we only name the principal subspecies

For acuminata
there is, I saw that somewhere ;

banksii
microcarpa
sumatrana
truncata
zebrina

Somebody knows a seller who can tell precision ? or maybe I m wrong and we dont have to worry about it ?


Special thanks to Lorax for the seeds picture that can help well.

And Birdie youre right for the deadseeds have been sold too much time, but I ve no choice Ive to go on (I dont know why, dont ask).

Other question but facultive one or bonus ; does somebody know if cultivated seeds from a specie growing in a cooler place than his birthsplace can arise the coldtolerance ? fast (1 or 2 generations) or does it takes about 1000 years to expect some changes.
Well, I would like to answer your question with the mail I sent you today. Read on.

Yes, even one generation can bring results. But only if the plant is almost unprotected and its natural abilities are stimulated. Let me demostrate by another curiosity in my area. Palms that were grown from seedlings are way better, than those brought to our country from outside (mostly Trachycarpuses, but I'm trying also others, from seeds of course). They adapted to our winds, lots of water in winter (freeze, melt, freeze, melt...) and they do not rot, break, their leaves freeze at lower temps than usually and can withstand our eniroment. Their terminal temperatures moved only about by a 1°C, but it certainly did... I don't see why this would work different with bananas. It is however carefully planned culture and the plants must be trained in generations, not suddenly.
Also please note, that bananas include lots of water and grow incredibly fast. This plays against them. Lots of water means, that its limits will be low, no matter the time (water in air and plants starts freezing at 2°C - snow), or they will learn how to "get dry and dormant for freezing temps on their own". Also the fast growth is against them. Palms and other plants, that grow slowly, but surely, make lots of mutations in their life and pass them ALL on their next generation (and naturally only the best and most dominant characteristics are transferred during pollination). However bananas will grow significantly faster and thus mutate less in one genaration. In time you may find out, that most of /if not all your hardier bananas die in your experiments over time...

In conclusion: Yes, it is possible, but very long long long process. For palms it is about half the human life, for naners I don't dare to say.
And that's why I like doing it.
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