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Old 03-08-2016, 06:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Edible variegated red banana?

I found a "fruiting variegated red banana" at a local big box store, and I was under the impression that the variegated types were ornamental only?

At $12.00 it was little risk it's about 18" high and even sending out two pups.

The hang tag says it's self fertile but can be pollinated with a list of varieties on the tag. Dunno if that's relevant for non seeded fruit?

So, is what I found actually going to give me fruit?

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Old 03-08-2016, 07:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

Does the hang tag include the name of the grower? If so, I'd contact them and ask. (They may not have any answers but why not try.) It would help if you edited your profile to show your location. Why? Well, it would give some hints about which Big Box you frequented and where you shopped. If Alaska, I'm clueless; if FL, I might have some ideas.

Pretty plant.
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Old 03-08-2016, 07:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

Not for sure where your location is (hardiness zone) I am on the Gulf Coast (8b/9a) and never seen fruit for the 20+ years I've had them. They sure don't take the cold well.
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Old 03-08-2016, 08:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

looks like zebrina , a common ornamental banana with non edible fruit. nice plant to have for it's leaves
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Old 03-08-2016, 09:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

Sorry, I'm in Southeast Florida (10a), I have two different types of nannas left from the nearly dozen I originally had, I pulled the ones that I either didn't like or had a growth habit I did not like. They grow really well here.

They were in Lowes and there was no grower info on the hang tag.

The reason I'm wondering is every variegated cultivar I've seen either has inedible fruit, or are ornamental only. Some places talk about "the small edible seeded fruit" indicating they are a species not cultivar?

The hang tag not only has the typical "Grow your own, enjoy your harvest" verbiage it also has "edible" fruit specific wording like Nutrition facts of Musa Rojo, "This fruit does not need a pollinator" and a list of pollinators but says it's self fertile?

I bought it on the off chance it actually does produce edible fruit, if not? Well I'll get to that when I get to that.

PS. Wiki has a page on it and says they are edible:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_banana
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Old 03-08-2016, 09:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

Is it that? Perhaps not. I'd contact Lowes and ask who supplied the product. They may hem and haw but, trust me, they know who they paid. Be nice but firm when they transfer you to another party. Explain that you collect musas and want to know the history of the plant you purchased from them--your favorite store. Then report back to us...
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Old 03-08-2016, 11:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

There are both edible and wild/seeded/ornamental varieties with this leaf patterning. I find the wild ones are actually more rare in the nursery trade than a common one which is actually edible, but seems to have a hard time making full size fruit, and in many cases, doesn't fruit at all due to being used as a warm weather annual landscape plant, so it is never given the chance to fruit. It's hard to tell at this point which type you have, but as it grows the leaves will either get relatively wide and be more horizontal which is the edible one, or they will be more slender and upright which is likely a seeded/strictly ornamental type.
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Old 03-09-2016, 12:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

What does self fertile mean? Does that mean it produces seed?
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Old 03-09-2016, 08:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

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Originally Posted by Botanical_Bryce View Post
What does self fertile mean? Does that mean it produces seed?
No, it means that the flowers are "perfect" having both male and female parts of the flower, and do not need another tree of the same type nearby to pollinate it to get fruit.

I am wondering about this issue. I have two other types of nannas and since the literature with it says they can be cross pollinated, that suggests that if I were to hand pollinate them I could use the seeds from the variegated tree to attempt some hybridization. That may make the resulting fruit either larger or better tasting?

I wonder if this has been tried with the edible type Gabe15 mentioned?
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Old 03-09-2016, 09:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

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What does self fertile mean? Does that mean it produces seed?
Self fertile means you don't need 2 for pollenisation . 1 will give you fruit.
Seeded means you'll get seeds inside the fruit and unseeded means that you won't.
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Old 03-11-2016, 12:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

My guess, which is always wrong, it's a Zabrina.
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Old 03-11-2016, 06:47 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

Wether it gives fruit or not, it looks great and healthy so for 12$, good find!
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Old 03-11-2016, 10:01 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

On another note, I bought 25 seeds of Musa Veluntina (pink banana) for a bit of diversity from the the other dwarf yellow bananas I have.

I'm going to plant all 25 seeds in pots and if any more than a couple come up I'll give the plants to friends and neighbors.

Is anyone growing these?
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Old 03-11-2016, 11:57 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

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What does self fertile mean? Does that mean it produces seed?
Self-fertility generally means a plant is able to provide it's own pollen to itself for fruit development, it is capable of in-breeding. Some cultivars of some crops are self-fertile and require no other plants of different cultivars around, whereas some have mechanisms to prevent in-breeding and promote or require out-crossing with other cultivars to set fruit.

"Self-fertility" is a term not generally used in bananas as it is somewhat meaningless and irrelevant in most cases (though very meaningful and relevant to some other common fruits). For edible bananas, fertility is of no factor because they are parthenocarpic, which could be mistaken as self-fertility, but really is it complete fertility avoidance and the fruit is stimulated to develop by other means (genetically controlled vegetative parthenocarpy), making the question of whether or not a particular edible cultivar can self-pollinate or requires an alternative source of pollen to set seed irrelevant to fruit production.

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No, it means that the flowers are "perfect" having both male and female parts of the flower, and do not need another tree of the same type nearby to pollinate it to get fruit.
Some wild bananas do indeed have perfect basal flowers and regularly self pollinate, and are indeed self-fertile, but even those that only have female basal flowers are almost always still self-fertile as they are normally capable of using pollen from the male flowers on a different bunch from the same mat. I have not heard of any banana which is not able to use it's own pollen if it is available, the issue is generally that in early growth of the mat there is generally no overlap in time between the female and male flowers, which is the banana's way of promoting (but short of preventing) out-crossing by temporal separation of the male and female flowers in the wild.

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I am wondering about this issue. I have two other types of nannas and since the literature with it says they can be cross pollinated, that suggests that if I were to hand pollinate them I could use the seeds from the variegated tree to attempt some hybridization. That may make the resulting fruit either larger or better tasting?
It totally depends on what the exact varieties are, as not all bananas are able to cross with one another. It's possible to make these types of crosses and generate new edible cultivars, but it can be a long and complicated process.

Quote:
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I wonder if this has been tried with the edible type Gabe15 mentioned?
I have not attempted any crosses with the edible red-variegated banana we are talking about, it may or may not have the ability to set seed with certain male parents, the male flowers do have a small amount of pollen which may be fertile and yield seed if used on a fertile female parent.
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Old 03-11-2016, 12:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

Here are some photos of this plant taken from around the world over many years. It is actually quite a common plant, despite it having very ambiguous origins and identity. The fruit starts out red when young, turns green as it matures, and ripens yellow. It can be very tasty, but like I mentioned earlier, it seems to have great trouble filling out decent sized fruit in most situations, but I have seen and tasted really great fruit from it once before.

https://goo.gl/photos/gcqhg4gqmiqFGURz9
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Old 03-11-2016, 12:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

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Here are some photos of this plant taken from around the world over many years. It is actually quite a common plant, despite it having very ambiguous origins and identity. The fruit starts out red when young, turns green as it matures, and ripens yellow. It can be very tasty, but like I mentioned earlier, it seems to have great trouble filling out decent sized fruit in most situations, but I have seen and tasted really great fruit from it once before.

https://goo.gl/photos/gcqhg4gqmiqFGURz9
Thanks very much for the reply. Have you any knowledge of these being grown in Florida?

As far as I can tell we have an ideal climate with sun, and rain in abundance, our only shortfall as far as bananas go is lack rich fertile soil. Luckily I have a "decent" soil which has proven itself suitable.

Hopefully these will fruit and add a bit of color to my otherwise monotone garden :-)
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Old 03-11-2016, 01:08 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

They grow in Florida, I have seen lots there, but still the fruit does not normally get very large.
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Old 03-11-2016, 04:53 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

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They grow in Florida, I have seen lots there, but still the fruit does not normally get very large.
Yeah, NP there. I have some pretty tiny bananas already one or two are PERFECT for a bowl of cereal.

I "think" many say these are not edible because of the seeds. Jeez, if this is the case, I'd have to stop eating a LOT of other fruits like guava, cactus pear, watermelon, sapodilla and more!
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Old 03-11-2016, 07:23 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

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I "think" many say these are not edible because of the seeds. Jeez, if this is the case, I'd have to stop eating a LOT of other fruits like guava, cactus pear, watermelon, sapodilla and more!
There are no seeds in the fruit of this variety, you can see fruits cut in half in the photo album I posted, the fruit is seedless. I think people say they are inedible because the real M. acuminata subsp. zebrina and M. acuminata subsp. sumatrana are wild, seeded plants. I think also they are normally just sold for their beautiful looks, and so people tend to think they must only be for their looks, and the fruit is of no interest and therefore assumed to not be edible. Compared with a good fruit producing cultivar, it also tends to have a very poor yield.

This plant is routinely assumed to be one of those subspecies, which it is not, and also those two wild taxa are erroneously assumed to be synonymous with each other, which they are not. Aside from the botanical taxonomy among M. acuminata taxa needing revision, the plant in question is not either of those two wild taxa. It is something else, I have some theories of it's origins, but no solid proof yet.

Here is a gallery of photos of truly wild-type Musa acuminata which are allied to the M. acuminata subsp. zebrina (like I said, the botanical taxonomy of the various M. acuminata taxa is in need of revision and somewhat complicated). You can see they are quite different from the edible red-leaved plant in question, these plants are tall and very slender, with upright leaves, very small and seeded fruit when pollinated, no pulp or seeds when not pollinated (i.e. non-parthenocarpic), and no persistent bracts on the rachis. These plants are occasionally seen in the nursery trade, but are much rarer than the weird edible one, and when they are sold they are generally under the same set of names as the edible one they are confused with.

https://goo.gl/photos/uP8iySJmtuvMrrXm8
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Old 03-11-2016, 08:15 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Edible variegated red banana?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gnappi View Post
On another note, I bought 25 seeds of Musa Veluntina (pink banana) for a bit of diversity from the the other dwarf yellow bananas I have.

I'm going to plant all 25 seeds in pots and if any more than a couple come up I'll give the plants to friends and neighbors.

Is anyone growing these?
I grow velutina. They are stunning - my flower and fruit at 4-5 feet in just a few months - here cold kills them to the ground but they will grow up in the spring and fruit by August. The fruit is bright magenta and really very pretty but effectively inedible; the flavor is okay but there are so many seeds it's not possible to eat, at best you're really just sucking the scant bit of flesh off the seeds. It's literally almost all seed.

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