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Main Banana Discussion This is where we discuss our banana collections; tips on growing bananas, tips on harvesting bananas, sharing our banana photos and stories.


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Old 07-25-2011, 04:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Solomon Islands bananas

I spent 3 weeks in the Solomons earlier this summer doing some research and training. I saw some 100 or so different varieties and would love to share all the photos if it was so easy, but its not, so here are some examples of the more interesting ones. I should be finished with a fun travel-log type version of my report within the next month, so when that is finished I will share it here.

I was having trouble uploading them through bananas.org, so they are hosted on Photobucket. They seem to all be displayed at full size, so sorry if it's difficult to navigate, but not too sorry because I bet you'll still think they're neat. Enjoy!





Kwaibaita Valley, Malaita island. The bananas on the left in the first photo are wild Australimusa and seem to be a new species. There were at least 2 varieties in the area (below), and from the locals descriptions, at least one other species on the island.







'Broken Heart', a local favorite for dessert and cooking. It is a small plant (4-6ft) with relatively large fruit (8-12in) and normally begins fruiting about 6-7 months after planting. In the Solomons, to have a "broken heart" over something means you love it very much, and indeed this banana was loved as evidenced by its planting in massive numbers around many villages.


'Five Minute', named so because of its quick cooking time over a fire. The fruit is very long and slender, and the pulp is also rather airy and soft (not dense at all) and so altogether seem to give it the advantage when you need a quick snack out in the bush. It is also highly esteemed by young children and the elderly due to its soft texture.



Unknown on Makira island. Even my local banana expert guide who had gone all around Makira collecting bananas had never seen this one before. It is was in someones yard, we were in a bit of a rush to get back to the airport so couldn't stop long, my camera also fogged up and so it was hard to get good photos. It is obviously an edible cultivar, but seems to be a hybrid Musa section/Australimusa section which are known from other areas but quite rare.


'Toraka Gatagata', one of the at least 9 Fe'i bananas on Makira. Within the Solomons, Makira is often jokingly referred to as "banana island" because of the higher dependency of banana as a food source there. Makira has many varieties (probably over 100) and is one of the few hot spots of Fe'i banana left in the Pacific.


'Chuchu chichi', a Maoli/Popo'ulu subgroup member, closely related to the well known 'Hua Moa', which gets quite tall and normally has reddish-orange fruits. This particular bunch was covered in vines and thus hidden from the sun which seems to have left it with only hints of orange on the skin. "Chuchu" is the basic name for these types of banana on Guadalcanal island (where photo was taken), and "chichi" means red.


'Mota Pasa', appearing to be a Pisang Awak (or close to it) subgroup member with dark brown/black petioles and midribs. "Pasa" is a the term used when applying mud on your skin for various rituals, as this banana appears to have done to it's petioles.


'Ruhuvia Chichi', a nice little plant with brilliantly colored pink/red fruits.
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Old 07-25-2011, 04:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

You must have felt like you were in heaven....other than the temps!
Great stuff Gabe!
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Old 07-25-2011, 05:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

Wow awesome!
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Old 07-25-2011, 05:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

That is indeed awesome Gabe!!! You must have had a great time there! Thank you very much for sharing these awesome photos with us,and in full size!

The bananas there are truly spectacular!
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

Inspiring. So many bananas still unknown to the rest of the world. Was any attempt made to bring some of the varieties back for propagation?
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

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Originally Posted by venturabananas View Post
Was any attempt made to bring some of the varieties back for propagation?
The job was to evaluate some collections that have already been set up and identify which varieties are in most need on conservation. From there, the selected varieties will be put in vitro in Fiji for conservation and propagation for farmers in the Solomans.

It would have been too difficult to try to import any suckers, especially since I only found out I was going about 1 week beforehand. Perhaps at some point they will end up in the international genebank in Belgium, but I don't know when.

There are some unique varieties for sure, but many of them are also the same as in Papua New Guinea and there has been some relatively large collecting missions already done there, so not everything is totally unknown.
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

Explain to me one more time why you didn't take US with you.
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

Is the purple serum typical of Australimusa, or ??
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Old 07-26-2011, 01:26 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

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Is the purple serum typical of Australimusa, or ??
Purple sap is common in Australimusa, but there are some that do not have it too. Additionally, there are some non-Australimusa that have reddish or purpleish sap, but they are typically not as vibrant as the colored Australimusa sap.

The purple sap is kind of a strange phenomenon though, in my experience with fe'i bananas, it depends on where you cut the plant, what angle you cut the plant, and sometimes if you re-cut a previously cut section, then it is no longer purple. I would like to experiment more to figure out what the deal is.
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

Thanks Gabe for the pics and uploading it. The orange banana is edible? or is seeded?
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:25 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

Except for the heat, Many would have loved to enjoy your trek through the islands. The vehicle sure looks out of place being all else is vegetation. The plants are beautiful and will look forward to more info on your findings.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:26 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

Thanks for sharing, Gabe. I look forward to seeing more photos in your travel log when you get it done.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:40 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

wow fantastic pics Gabe.Will you be going back there,its like the lost world
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:17 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

Quote:
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The orange banana is edible? or is seeded?
It is a seeded, wild species. Many edible bananas I have tasted are quite tasty, but this one is not. It is like ripe Fe'i, kinda sour which is not necessarily bad in itself, but it is also mildly irritating to the throat. There is so little pulp there really isn't anything to eat anyways.

Quote:
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Will you be going back there,its like the lost world
I would love to go again someday. The point of me going was kinda so that they don't need anymore banana scientists being sent all the way out there, so I will have to come up with a new reason! I made many friends and so have some good local contacts if I get a chance to go back.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

I love that first pic you posted.
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Old 07-26-2011, 04:47 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

Gabe, do you have any idea what subgroup "Broken Heart" is in? Looks like all mostly A genes. With that dwarf height and popular flavor, seems like a good one for more widespread propagation. Is there anything in the same subgroup that is more readily available?
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Old 07-26-2011, 04:58 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

Woooa! really neat pictures and interesting beyond words.. Thanks for sharing
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:07 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

Will enjoy your next posts. Take good care of yourself as many of us enjoy all you have contributed.
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:34 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

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Gabe, do you have any idea what subgroup "Broken Heart" is in? Looks like all mostly A genes. With that dwarf height and popular flavor, seems like a good one for more widespread propagation. Is there anything in the same subgroup that is more readily available?
It is most likely an AA. Many diploids do not have assigned subgroups as they are a very diverse lot and relatively less cultivated and less studied. The types of bananas with solid subgroups tend to be very robust, popular types that have been passed around for thousands of years. I did see a couple other varieties which are obviously closely related to 'Broken Heart', but there is no recognized subgroup and I don't think there are any closely related varieties present in the hobby market.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:12 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Soloman Islands bananas

Bummer. Seems like a good dwarf variety will always have a home in the hobby market.
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