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Old 09-16-2010, 08:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Pure species edible bananas?

Hello,

After growing Ice Cream now for a while and enjoying it very much,I have been toying with the idea of growing an edible banana at my Pyrgos garden as well. I only want to grow pure species plants there so hybrids are out of question. I would also prefer to avoid trilogies as well for there as it's not very natural as well even though it supposedly happened in the wild at random. So I am inclined towards the edible AA varieties. Can these be considered pure species? How did they supposedly form in nature? Do these produce some seed as well when pollinated from the same variant or the wild species? Are these really just the clones of a wild Musa acuminata with more desirable to man fruiting characteristics?
If all the above are true,which would be a good,tall growing edible AA variety with vegetative characteristics closest to the wild Musa acuminata variant it came from? Which M. acuminata variant did it come from?

Is there any other pure species edible banana apart from the AAs? What about the Fe'i regarding species purity?

P.s.: All the above do not mean that I will not grow the other edible cultivars availiable,I just won't in Pyrgos. The other edible cultivars will be grown at a separate property as my Ice Cream is as well(I grow it at my main house in Melissia).

Thank you very much in advance!

All the best,
-Konstantinos
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pure species edible bananas?

All edible banana cultivars have been significantly changed from their wild ancestors by human selection. Many can still produce seed, and some can even self pollinate and produce seeds, but they are not like the wild species at all. There are a few forms of M. acuminata subsp. malaccensis which are documented to be parthenocarpic (and others too), but I do not know how you get a hold of these. Even then, they are rather weakly parthenocarpic and do not compare well to edible cultivars.

If you want a pure wild species, then you cannot have edible (parthenocarpic) fruit at the same time.

Basically, what separates edible bananas from the wild ones is the deliberate intervention and cultivation by people. There are no "wild cultivars". If a wild plant did not have seeds, it could not survive and would quickly be eliminated from the population, unless it was helped along by something else such as humans, and this is the process of domestication.

Even the AA types are very different from the wild species. Fe'i are very poorly studied, but even those it is known have undergone significant changes from the their wild species.

The closest you could reasonably get would be to have some AA cultivar that is derived from a single form of M. acuminata. However, this does not guarantee that it has not been hybridized with other forms of M. acuminata at some point and it would certainly be very different from the wild progenitors of it.
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pure species edible bananas?

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Originally Posted by Kostas View Post
...
I only want to grow pure species plants there so hybrids are out of question. I would also prefer to avoid trilogies as well for there as it's not very natural as well even though it supposedly happened in the wild at random.
Any "pure" species of any living thing on the planet today has evolved by cross-breeding and/or mutation over geologic time. It is not possible to grow an original species from inception of life on the planet because they are no longer present.

There are some people who proselytize a general fear of hybrids. It is totally inane.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pure species edible bananas?

I believe in this case he is talking about pure wild species bananas vs. edible bananas of which have undergone some hybridization. Even some wild species could be the result of wild hybridization events, but they are still botanically recognized as species. Edible bananas do not even use the Linnean binomial taxonomy system, and are not recognized as distinct species due to the extreme intervention of domestication. It should be noted though that hybridization among edible bananas only has the consequence of creating diversity, not in making them edible, many wild hybrids exist and they are no closer to being edible than the other wild species.

I think what Konstantinos is looking for is an extremely primitive edible banana, one that is almost the exact same as it's wild progenitor except it has parthenocarpic fruit. Unfortunately, very few of these exist today, and the ones that do exist may not have even had a role in the evolution of edible bananas, they are just of the same type, and there is nowhere to get them. The actual plants that helped to be the progenitors of modern edible bananas were a mixed lot (at least 7 known subspecies of M. acuminata, and who knows how many varieties of about 5 other species) of plants that may very well be extinct now. Banana domestication started thousands of years ago, so the majority of plants with those traits (parthenocarpy) are carried on in the domesticated edible clones, but not in the wild plants which people were not tending to.
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Pure species edible bananas?

Thank you very much for your replys!

Gabe,
Thank you very very much for all this info,it was exactly what I wanted to know! Yes,that's exactly what I am looking for,an edible banana that is almost the exact same wild species and ssp it comes from but is parthenocarpic to some degree when not pollinated.
So,the Musa acuminata ssp. malaccensis parthenocarpic forms sound perfect if there is a way to get one of those.(Do you have any maybe?)
Otherwise,if it's impossible to get those,what would be the next closest from the available AAs and why is it so much changed from it's wild ancestors if not hybridized? Domestication surely changes living organisms a lot but this is due to hybridization and possible somatic mutation mainly,not just because it's cultivated. So if someone found a banana in the wild that was parthenocarpic and then kept that clone alive from vegetative propagation,theoretically,this would still be a wild specimen. And if it still produced good seeds by itself when well pollinated,it would be able to pass it's genes to some more plants and it wouldn't be a dead end even if left in the wild.
I might be wrong in my above thoughts and would certainly like to hear yours on the subject! I don't know the 1/1000 from what you know about bananas!!!!


Richard,
It's true many of today's species are the results of past hybridization but there is a difference:they are stable and describable enough to be designated species. Pure species do exist all around us because there is reproductive isolation between them due to various reasons such as geographic barriers and incompatibility,different flowering seasons,etc. Personally,I like seeing pure species around but I am fine with the edible bananas when grown away from wild banana populations. They do are beauties as well I must confess!

All the best,
-Konstantinos
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Old 09-16-2010, 06:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Pure species edible bananas?

If it ws somehow in a bananas best intrest to remain "pure", they would not have evolved flowers that are so atractive to bees. This is a naturally outcrossing species that has few solid crossing barriers. There are no such thing as pure species in crops like banana, there is more realistically a continum of genetic variation. We just clasify things into discrete species because it is a convienient way for us to think of and describe the variation we see...In reality nothing is that discrete.

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Old 09-17-2010, 12:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pure species edible bananas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kostas View Post

Gabe,
Thank you very very much for all this info,it was exactly what I wanted to know! Yes,that's exactly what I am looking for,an edible banana that is almost the exact same wild species and ssp it comes from but is parthenocarpic to some degree when not pollinated.
So,the Musa acuminata ssp. malaccensis parthenocarpic forms sound perfect if there is a way to get one of those.(Do you have any maybe?)
Otherwise,if it's impossible to get those,what would be the next closest from the available AAs and why is it so much changed from it's wild ancestors if not hybridized? Domestication surely changes living organisms a lot but this is due to hybridization and possible somatic mutation mainly,not just because it's cultivated. So if someone found a banana in the wild that was parthenocarpic and then kept that clone alive from vegetative propagation,theoretically,this would still be a wild specimen. And if it still produced good seeds by itself when well pollinated,it would be able to pass it's genes to some more plants and it wouldn't be a dead end even if left in the wild.
I might be wrong in my above thoughts and would certainly like to hear yours on the subject! I don't know the 1/1000 from what you know about bananas!!!!
I don't know where you can get those malaccensis selections. If you were doing a research project and had good reason other than hobby, perhaps they may be easier to get, but just for hobby purposes they would not be easy to get. I don't have any.

A general trend, but by no means a rule, of vegetatively propagated crops is the accumulation of reproductive sterility factors. This is in part due to the fact that if you are not relying on the plant to produce seed, any mutation that affects seed production capacity will go unnoticed and be passed along. Mutations of course happen all of the time, furthermore bananas had even more pressure to be sterile in that they not only had the capacity to accumulate these reproductive errors, but they were desirable and deliberately selected for by the people who were perpetuating them. In the meantime, they were still hybridizing and mutating in other ways and so they are very different from their wild progenitors now. It's hard to say exactly what millions of farmers did over thousands of years, but what we can see is that none of them preserved those old ancestral parthenocarpic-wild forms, because everything cultivated today for fruit is domesticated and changed. Those malaccensis were found among wild populations, not in cultivation.

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Originally Posted by legumepole View Post
If it ws somehow in a bananas best intrest to remain "pure", they would not have evolved flowers that are so atractive to bees. This is a naturally outcrossing species that has few solid crossing barriers. There are no such thing as pure species in crops like banana, there is more realistically a continum of genetic variation. We just clasify things into discrete species because it is a convienient way for us to think of and describe the variation we see...In reality nothing is that discrete.

Wild bananas are very diverse, and there are species which have mechanisms which promote outcrossing, and species which deliberately inbreed. Usually there are rather effective barriers which prevent species from hybridizing, as even species growing in the same area which can be artificially crossed do not appear as hybrids in the field sometimes. Most bananas are bird or bat pollinated, I would bet there is a big effect on pollen movement from pollinator interactions. Even the same botanical species growing in different valleys in the same regions will form and preserve distinct and unique varieties. One big factor changing this is deforestation. Bananas are generally pioneer plants and when a piece of forest is opened up (clear cut) bananas rapidly grow there. As this land continues to open up, populations which normally had effective biological barriers are able to now interbreed and some diversity is being lost through hybridization and introgression.

For the edible bananas, it is generally accepted that the species concept does not work. However, for wild bananas there are indeed very descrete and justifiably recognized species. And of course taxonomy never fully accounts for all of the diversity that is out there or truly reflects it's complexity, but none the less, by the definition and accepted process of botanical nomenclature, there are indeed many discrete banana species.
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Old 09-17-2010, 12:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Pure species do exist all around us because there is reproductive isolation between them due to various reasons such as geographic barriers and incompatibility,different flowering seasons,etc.
Yes, I agree with your point. My point is that very few of the millions of species you see today are "original" in the sense of geologic time.
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Old 09-22-2010, 04:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Pure species edible bananas?

Thank you very much for your replys!

Gabe,
Thanks a lot for your very informative reply!
If I knew who had these parthenocarpic Musa acuminata ssp malaccensis I almost sure we could work something out that would benefit both of us!

I understand what you say about today's AAs having accumulated a multitude of mutations over the years and also the difficulty in knowing what all those generations of farmers did with them! But how did they hybridize if they are AAs? Do you mean there is a possibility thtat some point they could have crossed with another species and then back crossed many times with acuminata/AAs again so that there is no way to trace that possible crossing any more?
Do you know of any other pure species edible banana? What about Burmese Blue? Is it a pure species? How is it eaten and does it have seeds?

Very interesting to hear about the barriers between banana species! It's a shame deforestation removes some of those barriers and it's a shame it occurs in general!!!

Richard,
I agree on that,I am sure species have changed many times since their creation as the environment,geographical barriers and various other factors changed through the centuries! But still,having specimen of known species alive at more than 1000years of age shows that not everything changed or that it took much more to do so! So it does is good to protect our species and their diversity :-)
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pure species edible bananas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kostas View Post
Gabe,
Thanks a lot for your very informative reply!
If I knew who had these parthenocarpic Musa acuminata ssp malaccensis I almost sure we could work something out that would benefit both of us!
I only know of them from the collection held by the Queensland Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries in Australia. You would have to contact them and see if you can acquire some germplasm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kostas View Post
I understand what you say about today's AAs having accumulated a multitude of mutations over the years and also the difficulty in knowing what all those generations of farmers did with them! But how did they hybridize if they are AAs?
Many edible bananas are fertile, especially AA's since they tend to at least not have as many reproductive errors caused by triploidy. Many bananas will hybridize if there is a pollen vector.

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Do you mean there is a possibility thtat some point they could have crossed with another species and then back crossed many times with acuminata/AAs again so that there is no way to trace that possible crossing any more?
Correct. All that AA means is that it is a diploid derived from M. acuminata, but that does not inherently mean it is derived from a single form of M. acuminata.

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Do you know of any other pure species edible banana? What about Burmese Blue? Is it a pure species? How is it eaten and does it have seeds?
I have heard of some parthenocarpic M. balbisiana, but I don't know how to get them. 'Burmese Blue' is a form of M. itinerans which is a normal wild species. Some seeded bananas are still eaten, but because they have seeds they are not termed "edible" in the world of bananas. You can eat any seeded banana, it will not hurt you, but they are very different from eating the edible cultivars.
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Pure species edible bananas?

Thank you very much for your reply Gabe!

Thanks a lot for letting me know a source for the pure parthenocarpic Musa acuminata ssp. malaccensis! I will try contacting them and see!

Which would you consider the ''purest'' of the AAs?
What do you think of Kru? Others say its AA,others that its a triploid...

Hmm,a parthenocarpic M. balbisiana would surely be interesting!
Being a seeded banana,would Burmese Blue fruit here? Does it require polination to produce bananas and is there any chance it would self polinate? There will be no other Musa sp. arround.
Which are some of the most commonly eaten seeded banana species and is any famed for its taste?

Thank you very much in advance!
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