>Semilla means seed. That's a figurative rather than literal use of the word.
>Sucker on the other hand is a denigrating term for what I would call an
>offshoot, a complete plant emanatinng natually from the mother root or
>root material (root bed).
Yes. I was aware of the linguistic origin and figurative use of the word
"semilla". Thanks for providing me with a better word to describe the
method of propagation of the banana (offshoot).
>You may have noticed that the offshots have two basic and very different
>In Mexico, one type (a trianglar shaped plant, with a strong, solid base) is
>preferred; the rest are thinned out.
Perhaps the variety you see in Mexico is far different from the several
varieties we have here in Puerto Rico. I have never seen any with a
triangular shape. In at least two documents I have on the subject, it is
said that there are over 200 varieties of the banana world wide, but only
about 20 have any commercial value. I am sure that much of the decision as
to whether a variety has commercial value is its ability to produce fruit
that ships well to distant markets.
When transplanting, be sure to dig a basin
>and set them in somwhat below grown level. If the roots develope too
>the surface, a heavy bunch can pull them over. Some large bunched varieties
>with not so sturdy stalks require 2 or 3 forked branches holding up every
Many of the plants that produce large bunches are used for commercial
purposes. One major task of the workers on large plantations is to provide
the stakes and strings to tie them and hold them up. They also tie a
plastic bag over the fruit to protect it from pests and from excessive
rubbing against the leaves to prevent bruising of the fruit. the bag is
made of a special plastic that "breathes" to allow air flow, but keep even
small insects out.
Although I do plant them deep, I still use stakes for large bunches, but
(Each banana plant bears a single bunch and dies; to be reabsorbed by
>the soil). I had an acre of banannas on my river front property and never
>bunch until it had at least 1 bananna beginning to turn yellow. Try that and
>compare the results with the Central and South American banannas found in US
The flavor is far superior to that found in mainland stores. This is due
in part to natural ripening, but also due to the method of growth, I
believe. We cut ours a bit sooner. If you have good color vision, you can
detect the very slight change in color of the fruit and cut it at its peak
before any of the bananas actually turn yellow. It takes about 4 to 8 days
for it to complete ripening while hanging in a protected area.
I did allow two bunches of bananas and one of plantains to fully ripen
this past week. Rain kept me inside for a number of days and when I went
to check on them, I found I had waited a bit too long. Also, several of
the plantains had ruptured and burst open due to too rapid growth at the
wrong time. All that rain at the wrong time of the year has caused a lot
of growth spurts.
>The only banannas I know about with viable seeds are found in Africa,
>originated. I'm told the seeds are about the size of guaybaba seeds.
Quoting from one of the documents I have:
"We know for a fact that it is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the
world. Mentions of bananas are found in the Buddhist Pali writings (6th
century b.c.) and in the national epic poems of India (Mahabharata and
Ramayana), and it is for this reason that South-East Asia is generally
regarded as their original home."
A quick look through the documents failed to turn up the quote I was
looking for on the seeded varieties. I think Sal mentioned he had grown
some from seeds in California.
The Luquillo national Forest located in the Luquillo mountain ranger here
in Puerto Rico is the only tropical rain forest in the National Park
system. Parts of it has over 400 inches of rain per year. While I am not
in, or even adjacent to, the National forest, I can see parts of it from my
front porch. We get between 100 and 150 inches per year here in the hills
west of Ceiba.
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--
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