Thursday, February 14, 2008

Banana Trees

When I moved into this house a year ago September, there was 1 small banana tree near the bank at the edge of the property. The tree kept sending little shoots and before I knew it, there were 5 trees.

The first one flowered about 6 months ago, and produced close to 40 lbs. of bananas. I ate so many, I threw my Potassium levels out of whack. It couldn't be helped, they were soooo good.

Bananas aren't really trees. They're herbaceous perennials that grow from corms (or pseudobulbs). Thick, fleshy stalks (pseudostems) emerge from the large corms and can increase in height anywhere from 1-30 ft. in a year, depending on the selection and location. Each stalk carries spectacular broad, 5-9 ft. long leaves. Each also produces a single flower cluster, which develops fruit; the stalk dies after fruiting, and new stalks then grow from the corm.

There are now 5 stalks. This photo is the latest harvest--it, too, is close to 40 lbs. There are two more bunches of bananas coming out. These bananas taste a bit more sweet than the ones found in the grocery stores, and they have a slight bite to them, but they're 100% organic. Once removed from the stalk, they take about a week to ripen, then they all ripen within a few days of one another.

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