Sunday, April 17, 2011

Banana Varieties

Most of the  commercial banana plants are perfect clones of one another and most originate from one single plant from Southeast Asia. Now to be clear, there are approximately 1000 different types of banana plants in the world today and within each variety most are generally clones of one another, although some do have a bit of genetic diversification. But “the” banana, since the 1960s, the one sold commercially in supermarkets the world over, is the Cavendish banana.

Most types of bananas originate from hybrids of the Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. When these two cross breed, the result is a half breed banana plant that is almost completely sterile.  

Dwarf Cavendish (AAA) :

It is a popular commercial cultivar grown extensively for table and processing purpose in the states
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar and West Bengal. It is also popular in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra
duper wdarf patio - musa

Pradesh. 'Basrai' is the leading commercial variety of Cavendish group and is a leading commercial
variety of Maharashtra. The plant stature is Dwarf making it less prone to wind damage.

The bunch
size, the fruit length and size is quite good though the keeping quality is rather poor. The average
bunch weight with 6-7 hands and with about 13 fruits per hand is about 15-25 kg. The thick rind of the
fruits retains to some extent the greenish colour even when the fruits are ripe. Gandevi selection
miniature banana plant

known as 'Hanuman' or 'Padarre' is gaining importance inspite of its longer crop duration. The
selection yields bunches weighing 55-60 kg. Performs well under light soils with high inputs. In
combination with high-density planting and drip irrigation, Dwarf Cavendish is becoming a highly
successful cultivar. It is highly susceptible to Sigatoka leaf spot disease in humid tropics restricting its
commercial cultivation.

Robusta (AAA) :

It is a semi-tall variety, grown mostly in Tamil Nadu and some parts of Karnataka for table purpose.
Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. It is a high yielding and produces bunch of large size with well
developed fruits.

Dark green fruits turn bright yellow upon ripening depending on ripening conditions.
Fruit is very sweet with a good aroma. Bunch weighs about 25-30 kg. Requires propping. Fruit has a
poor keeping quality leading to a quick breakdown of pulp after ripening, hence not suited for long
distance transportation. Robusta is highly susceptible to Sigatoka leaf spot disease in humid tropics.

Rasthali (Silk AAB) :

It is a medium tall variety commercially grown in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and
Bihar. Its unique fruit quality has made Rasthali popular and a highly prized cultivar for table purpose.

Fruits are yellowish green throughout their development, but turn pale yellow to golden yellow after
ripening. Fruit is very tasty with a good aroma. Longer crop duration, severe susceptibility to Fusarium
wilt, requirement of bunch cover to protect fruits from sun cracking and formation of hard lumps in fruits
make crop production more expensive.

Poovan (Mysore AAB) :

It is a leading commercial cultivar grown throughout the country with location specific ecotypes like
palayankodan in Kerala, Poovan in Tamil Nadu, Karpura Chakkarakeli in Andhra Pradesh and Alpan in
North Eastern Region. It is generally cultivated as a perennial crop. Tamil Nadu is the leading producer
of Poovan cultivar owing to its climatic and marginal soil condition.

Poovan is also commercially
cultivated for leaf industry throughout Tamil Nadu and in certain parts of Kerala. Fruit is slightly acidic,
firm and has typical sour-sweet aroma. Fruits turn to attractive golden yellow on ripening. Medium
sized bunch, closely packed fruits, good keeping quality and resistant to fruit cracking is its plus points.
But it is highly susceptible to Banana Bract Mosaic Viral (BBMV) disease and Banana Streak Virus,
(BSV), which cause considerable reduction in yield.

Nendran (AAB) :

It is a popular variety in Kerala where it is relished as a fruit as well as used for processing.
Commercial cultivation of Nendran has picked up rapidly in Tamil Nadu in the recent past.

Nendran is
known to display considerable diversity in plant stature, pseudostem colour, presence or absence of
male axis, bunch size, etc. Bunch has 5-6 hands weighing about 12-15 kg. Fruits have a distinct neck
with thick green skin turning buff yellow on ripening. Fruits remain as starchy even on ripening.
Nendran is highly susceptible to Banana Bract Mosaic Virus (BBMV), nematodes and borers.

Red Banana (AAA) :

Red banana is the most relished and highly prized variety of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Its commercial
cultivation is prominent in Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts of Tamil Nadu.

It is also popular in
Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and to some extent in Western and Central India. In Bihar and other
regions, it is popular as Lal Velchi while in Karnataka as Chandra Bale. The colour of the pseudostem,
petiole, midrib and fruit rind is purplish red. It is a robust plant with bunches weighing 20-30 kg under
good management practices. Fruits are sweet, orange yellow coloured and with a pleasant aroma. It is
highly susceptible to bunchy top, fusarium wilt and nematodes.

Ney Poovan (AB) :

Ney Poovan is the choicest diploid cultivar, which is under commercial mono cultivation on a large
scale especially in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In Kerala It is grown in backyards and now shifting to
large-scale cultivation.

Ney Poovan is a slender plant bearing bunches of 15-30 kg after 12-14 months.
Dark green fruits turn golden yellow with a very good keeping quality. Fruit is highly fragrant, tasty,
powdery and firm. Ney Poovan is tolerant to leaf spot but susceptible to Fusarium wilt and banana bract
mosaic virus.

Virupakashi (AAB) :

It is an elite variety in South India especially grown for table purpose in Palani and Shevroy hills of
Tamil Nadu under perennial cultivation. It is a vigorous and hardy variety though not a prolific one.
Fruits show a typical curvature, possess a pleasant aroma and delightful taste.

Virupakshi has the
characteristic flavour only when they are cultivated in higher elevation. In the mixed cultivation it is well
suited as a shade plant for young coffee. It has many ecotypes like 'Sirumalai' (grown on hills),
'Vannan', 'Kali' etc. well suited for cultivation in plains. Perennial system of cultivation aggravates
Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV).

Pachanadan (AAB) :

It is a popular variety in Tamil Nadu grown especially for its cooling effects in hot tracts in summer. The
variety comes up well in marginal soils without any yield reduction. It is well suited as an intercrop in
coconut/arecanut garden.

The bunch weight ranges from 12-15 kg (after 11-12 months). Pachanadan
could be used in the Nendran plantations for gap filling as it comes up for harvest along with Nendran.
This variety is tolerant to leaf spot and Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) diseases, but susceptible to
wilt disease.

Monthan (ABB) :

It is a widely cultivated variety for processing. Monthan is a fairly tall and robust plant bearing bunches
of 18-20 kg after 12 months. Fruits are bold, stocky, knobbed and pale green in colour. The skin is
usually green. The new prolific 'Monthan' type clones of economic value namely 'Kanchi Vazhai' and
'Chakkia' are recently becoming popular in Tamil Nadu.

Apart from its culinary use of fruits,
pseudostem core is a highly relished vegetable with many medicinal properties. Monthan is also
cultivated for production of leaves in Trichy and Tanjore districts of Tamil Nadu. It has many desirable
qualities like immunity to Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) diseases, salt tolerance and normal bunch
mass even under marginal condition, but it is highly susceptible to Fusarium wilt disease.

Karpuravalli (ABB) :

It is a popular variety grown for table purpose in medium rich soils. Its commercial cultivation is spread
over in Central and Southern districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In Bihar, cultivation is in patches under
the name 'Kanthali'. Karpuravalli is a tall, robust plant well suited to marginal lands and soils, produced
under low input conditions.

It is also the sweetest among Indian bananas. Karpuravalli is occasionally
seeded depending on the seasonal variability. Its ash coated golden yellow and sweet fruits have good
keeping quality. Karpuravalli is highly susceptible to wilt disease, tolerant to leaf spot disease and well
suited for drought, salt affected areas and for low input conditions.

 Safed Velchi Musa (A B Group) :

This is considered a good quality fruit for table purpose and is cultivated in the Thane, Nasik districts
of Maharashtra. It is grown under the shade of arecanut gardens in the South Kanara districts of

 This variety is mediumsized with slender yellowish green pseudostem and can be
recognised by the reddish petiole margin, large fruits, very thin and papery rind and white firm flesh that
is very sweet. The average bunch weight is about 12 kg with about 150 fruits/bunch. The duration of the
variety is about 13 months.

Exotic Varieties :

pisang masak hijau banana plants
         -Dwarf Cavendish
         -Giant Cavendish
         -Pisang masak hijau
pisang masak hijau banana

         -Ice Cream
         -Enano Gigante
orinoco banana from USA

orinoco banana plants from USA

         -Santa Catarina Silver
         - Brazilian
         -Dwarf Cavendish
South Africa
         -Dwarf Cavendish
         -Golden Beauty
         -Goldfinger banana - This is one of the few other somewhat accepted varieties of banana , which doesn’t taste like the Cavendish or Gros Michel at all, rather tastes a bit like an apple. This variety was a
musa goldfinger banana from Australia

hybrid bred banana created by Philip Rowe. It did not catch on commercially in most of the world, excepting parts of Australia.      

East Africa,Thailand
          -Common Dwarf
philipines common wdarf varieties banana

          -Common Dwarf,
workers packing bananas

lakatan banan plant fromphilipines
          -Philippine Lakatan
ripen lakatan banana

giant cavendish banana from Taiwan

          -Giant Cavendish
giant cavendish banana
For the past decade or so, workers in Brussels, Belgium, have been working to decode and manipulate the banana’s genes. Their goal is to create a modified Cavendish banana that is resistant to the new strain of Panama disease, as well as the less threatening Black Sigatoka (a kind of worm), which also kills Cavendish banana plants.

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