Bananas – nature and nurture

Six years ago I rescued some suckers from a neglected South Townsville garden and planted them in my own. Two years ago I rescued some more when we moved house, to plant them in my new garden. This week I found myself with a bunch from the original (still neglected) patch and a bunch from my new patch, and here they are, side by side.

large and small bananas
Genetically identical

As the caption says, they are genetically identical – as they must be, since that’s the only way our cultivated (hybrid) bananas propagate. The riper fruit are from the old patch, which is still rarely watered and even more rarely composted. The new patch is watered regularly and the soil is well nourished. The difference in the fruit is dramatic.

I’m still waiting to see what my other transplanted variety, the Ducasse, will produce in my new garden. Suckers went in at the same time and the plants are still growing strongly with no sign of flowering. They are taller and more robust, in fact, than many of their ancestors in my old garden, so I’m beginning to think that the soil there may have been somewhat depleted in spite of my best efforts to mulch it.

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