Monday, October 5, 2009

Exotic Bananas

Banana Plant Descriptions...
The following list of descriptions gives some of the characteristics, and heights, grown in our area, of most of our varieties. Please note that the area of the country and growing conditions such as soil type & pH, temperature, humidity, amount of sunlight, fertilizing practices, amount of water and drainage will effect the size and health of your plants. Follow growing instructions carefully to get them off to a good start. Early care and frequent nutrition produce the best results for your plants and the most satisfaction to you, our customers.
AEAE - (waiting list only) A beautiful variegated green & white plant that also has multicolored fruit. Usually cooked as a plantain, some also eat it very ripe as a out of hand fruit. Ht. 12-16ft.

AFRICAN RHINOHORN - Height 10-12 feet. An unusual plantain that produces relatively few fruit but the size of each can weigh 2-3 pounds and be as long as 12-20 inches or more. The pseudostem has a dark burgundy hue which gives rise to the term some call "African Red". A collectors delight, especially when fruiting. Cold sensitive.

BACCARII— Ornamental banana that grows about 6-8 ft tall. Narrow light green leaves, with a bright orange/red torch inflorescence with green tips. Stunning!

BALBISIANA - The second of the primitive seeded varieties thought to be an ancestor to many modern day bananas and plantains. This hardy banana makes a nice landscape and collector variety. Height about 14-16 ft.

BALONGKAUE - (pronounced ball long coo) is a cooking type which grows about 12 ft. tall. The fruit has a bluish/green outer appearance, with white flesh. Is a very sturdy and attractive plant that can be eaten out of hand when very ripe.

BANKSII - (pronounced bank-see-aye) Also primitive seeded species having long thinnish leaves with light brown coloration on sheaths & lower petioles. Grows about 8-10 ft. Collectors & landscapers like these.

A disease resistant variety that bears a seedy fruit but the plant is valued for its use in banana breeding for new and improved banana varieties. Balbisiana is hardy and makes a wonderful landscape plant. Seeds from the fruit sprout readily and grows to a height of 14-18 ft.

BASJOO - This cool tolerant, seeded variety grows about 12 ft. tall, is solid light green and is a fast growing sturdy plant. It frequently sends out rhizomes 2-3 feet away from the corm. It has a golden-cream colored ovate inflorescence making it a very attractive acquisition. Becoming more popular in cooler regions for a tropical appearance.

BRAZILIAN - One of the tastiest of the dessert bananas, in our opinion. The height is 14-16 feet but has Dwarf brother that grows only 7-9 ft. and produces the same superb fruit. A real favorite for appearance and flavor.

BRUNEI - (pronounced brun eye) This ornamental sometimes called "black rose" grows about 12 ft.. The unique dark pseudostem contrasts with the inflorescence of dark red-rose color to be quite stunning. The seeded 2 inch fruit add to the beauty of the plant. very limited quantities

BURMESE BLUE - Although primarily thought of as an ornamental, some people from Burma, Thailand & Laos cook with it. Does not fruit easily occasionally needs pollination to get fruit. very limited quantities

CARDABA - A Philippine cooking variety that is a truly an attractive plant with a bluish hue to the fruit and very white pulp. The fruit is stubby and irregular in shape but can get quite large. Height 10-12 ft.

COCCINEA - (also known as uranoscopus) This ornamental variety produces an erect inflorescence of brilliant red-orange color that lasts for weeks. Height 3-6 ft. Good for containerized growing in filtered light.

CAVENDISH - Both the Dwarf (5 ft.) and Giant (7-8 ft.) varieties produce wonderful tasting fruit as does the others in the Cavendish sub-group. A vigorous grower with wide green leaves. One of the more common grown varieties in the USA.

DWARF NAMWA - Also known as pisang awak and other names through out the world, this group of lady finger bananas produce large sized bunches of sweet, truly delicious, fruit that is prized in Indonesia and all over the world. Usually grows about 9-10 ft although may grow a little taller.

DWARF ORINOCO - Named from the region in South America near the Orinoco river where they grow profusely, they are also called the horse banana or "burro". These angulated cooking bananas are also a tasty treat out of hand when fully ripe. Their versatility make them popular in many regions of the world. Height 5-6 ft. dwarf & 12-14 ft. on the tall.

DWARF & TALL RED - Known by many names in the world, (Cuban Red, Jamaican Red, Colorado, Indio, Macaboo) this very sweet lady finger fruit is most beautiful. It turns "sunset" colors when ripening from dark burgundy to orange, yellow-green and muted colors in between. The full bodied flavor and distinctive sweetness makes it worth the wait of 24 months or more to give fruit. The tall red, with a dark maroon pseudostem can grow 14-16 ft, the Dwarf version grows about 8-9 ft in our area.

DOUBLE - This beautiful Cavendish type has very wide, dark green leaves and produces a full sized fruit. Also called the Mahoi, the second generation produces multiple bunches of fruit, usually 2 but sometimes more. Height 5-6 ft.

ELE ELE - A Hawaiian cooking variety that is known for its very dark pseudostem. Sometimes called the Hawaiian Black, it gets a purplish hue, especially in more acid volcanic type soil. Full sized fruit. Grows about 14 ft. tall.

EBON MUSAK - A rather unique variety in that it has fruit that does not turn yellow when ripe only a subtle color change takes place when the fruit is mature. Watch it closely for plumpness so that it does not become over ripe. The nice sub-acid flavor makes it a delicious treat. Height 10-12 ft.
ENSETE MAURELII- Beautiful ornamental banana-like plant with very large upward extending leaves. Burgundy coloration in the leaves and midribs that can vary, like the heights, depending on light and other growing conditions. Usually propagated by seed, rather than rhizomes, which are very rare.

GOLDFINGER (FHIA-1) - A rapid growing, mostly green plant producing a wonderful tasting, slightly sub-acid, refreshing fruit that gets 6-8 inches long or better. It is a very disease resistant, wind & cool tolerant plant that is easy to grow. In our area the ripening fruit does not get dark yellow, instead gives only a slight color change when mature so check it often when close to harvesting. Height 10-12 ft. This one is a MUST.

FRENCH HORN - This plantain is much favored in Ecuador and the West Indies; used as a staple in their diets. The slightly curved fruit is large and delicious, comparable to the commercial plantains that we know and adore. Height 12 ft.

GIANT PLANTAIN - A taller version of the "Puerto Rican DWARF PLANTAIN". Both producing a superior fruit and commonly used for "maduros" and "tostones", a staple in the Caribbean and Hispanic cuisine. This is the one you find in the super market. Heights 12ft. and dwarf 8 ft.

GOLDEN AROMATIC - A Cavendish type sweet banana that has a fragrant aroma and gold ripe fruit. The full sized fruit produced from this wide leaved plant is a real taste treat. Height 10-12 ft.

GRAND NAIN - The commercial variety that you can buy in the grocery store. The purchased ones are good but when you grow it yourself and see how delicious this banana can taste you wonder what took you so long to try. These full sized fruit ripen rapidly, so be ready. They can give 40-60 pounds of fruit with ease. Height 6-8 ft.

GRAND NAIN-X-SUMATANA - (We just call it the "X") It has beautiful large leaves with maroon under side and splotched maroon and green on the top side of the leaves. Resembles the Zebrina except larger leaves and fuller. Height @ 6 ft.

Haa Haa
A striking plant which bears medium bunches of delicious fruit with orange flesh. A rare form of the Iholena Family. Height 10' to 12'.

HUAMOA - A Polynesian cooking banana that is almost rectangular in shape and packed with flavor. These make wonderful tostones as well as other banana recipes. The large full leaves and fat, rounded fruit make this a great looking plant. Height about 12 ft.

ICE CREAM - A very beautiful, cool tolerant plant that produces a blue/green fruit with pure white flesh. The sweet creamy fruit is very delightful. Height 10-12 ft.

IGCPOCA - One of our newer bananas that gives a plump, sweet delicious light green fruit with a pointed end. A thumbs up in every way. (Pronounce it if you can) Height 10-12 ft.

KOFI - From Papau New Guinea, a member of the Iholena sub group which is a combination cooking-dessert banana that rated highest in tasting tests. very limited quantities

KRU - Brought into this country from New Guinea, this wine colored plant gives fruit with green & red markings that narrows to a point on one end giving it an interesting and beautiful appearance. The fruit must be eaten very ripe to get full flavor. Grows about 12 ft. tall. The Green Kru is the same flavored fruit with out the wine colored markings.

LACATAN - Both the Jamaican and cousin Philippine Lakatan are one of the Cavendish sub-group and produce a similar fruit in shape, texture and flavor. Only the height of the plants differ slightly; the Philippine has more red in the leaf margis and is a little taller. Both produce good sized bunches of fruit that has delicious flavor. Heights (J=12+ft. P=14+ft.)

MAIA MAOLI - This 12-14 ft. tall plant of the Polynesian cooking variety has delicious flavor and statuesque elegance. It is mostly green with slight red colors in the pseudostem giving serious competition to the other cooking varieties. (One of our favorites)

MALACCENSIS - A primitive species, producing a small thin seeded fruit of about 4 inches. Resistant to Panama Disease and Sigatoka. Grows about 8-10 ft. tall.

MANNII - Short, approx. 3ft Ornamental plant having a small pinkish-blue inflorescence. Looks great in clumps adding color to the landscape

MAQUEƑO - N/A AT THIS TIME A cooking banana from Ecuador, has a solid greet stout trunk with chubby 6-8 inch fruit. Height 12 ft. The plant is resistant to sigatoka and other diseases making it a good substitute in countries where this is a commercial problem.

MAURITIUS - A short Cavendish type plant that grows 4 ft. in height and produces a small bunch of sweet full sized creamy fruit. Great for containerized growing or small area.

MONKEY FINGER - A terrific looking plant that produces very large bunches of long thin bananas with slight curving. It truly resembles the elongated fingers of a large monkey hand and hence obtained its name. The fruit is firm and sub-acid sweet giving it a very refreshing flavor. Height 10-12 ft.

MONTHAN - A cooking type from South India. Similar to the Bluggoe or Orinoco in size and versatility. Height about 10-12 ft.

MYSORE - (Height 14-16 ft.) and MISI LUKI (Height @ 10-12 ft.) are 2 of the most popular and delicious lady finger bananas we have tasted. The mysore, from India is an important commercial crop for that area of the world. The Misi, has a very fruity flavor. The shelf life of these delicious little morsels out last any other by several days. They are sturdy and fast growing. Loved by all!

MUSELLA LASIOCARPA - This short, stout, ornamental banana like plant is a prolific grower with tight clustering leaves. It produces a golden-yellow inflorescence emerging from the center & extending upward like a crowned jewel. Flower lasts about a month. Beautiful and Unusual. Approx. 4 ft. tall.

NEHUMBAHOKA - A rare dessert banana that grows about 10-12 ft. tall with a large amount of "chocolate" coloration in the pseudostem. The fruit is plump, at about 5 inches long & narrowed at the tip. It has sub-acid flavor which makes it refreshing.

NINO - This delicate sweet, thin skinned baby banana produces a fruit about 4 inches long. It is a light green plant that grows to about 8-10 ft.

ORNAMENTALS - ORNATAS- Some of several flowering colorful beauties that are a bold addition to landscape or gardens. The erect flower extends upwards through the lush greenery and peeps out with color. We carry the Bronze, (also called Laterita), Dusky Rose, Magenta, Pink Ornata and Red at this time. All magnificent. Heights 5-7 ft.

PELIPITA - A dark green plant that grows about 10-12 ft. tall and produces a cooking banana that is angulated in shape. It is a hardy plant resistant to disease which is why it is used as a progenitor for many other hybrids.

PISANG JARI BUAYA - This hardy dessert variety grows about 8-10 ft. tall with long leaves and a thin pseudostem. The fruit is slender and long with a slightly sub-acid sweet fruit. Rare and unique.

PITOGO - A wonderfully different looking fruit that resembles a fig more than a banana. Its ping-pong ball looking fruit is as delicious as it is unusual. We can't keep enough ahead of the demand. A real conversation piece as well as a special treat. Grows about 10-12 ft. in height.

POPOULU - A 12-14 ft. Polynesian cooking banana with superb flavor. Its short stout fruit and dark green foliage make it a magnificent looking specimen as well as great tasting treat.

PRAYING HANDS - Now here is a real eye popper. The fruit is fused together making each hand look like a baseball mit or hands in the praying pose. When completely ripe it is possible to separate the fingers to reveal a great tasting vanilla flavored banana. A must for the real banana enthusiast. Height 12-14 ft.

PISANG RAJA - A wonderful Indian variety with a yellow-orange flesh and sweet delectable flavor. Once you have tasted this baby you're hooked on this 14 ft. delicacy. Firm and delectable with an unforgettable taste.

RAJA PURI - A very popular sturdy plant originating in India and becoming a favorite around the world. Due to the rapid growth and delicious taste of these 3/4 size fruit as well as cool tolerance they have won the hearts (and taste buds) of thousands.

RED IHOLENA - This versatile variety is not decorative, with the under side of the leaves a burgundy color, but also used for eating fresh, dehydrating and for cooking. Others in the Hilahila sub group of Polynesian cooking bananas include the WHITE IHOLENA (& HA'A not available at this time) that produce fruit that are yellowish from the onset, making it difficult to determine when to harvest. These are devoid of the burgundy coloration but produce the same fruit. All are excellent for a multitude of uses. Heights: Red 10-12 ft, White 8-10 ft.

ROSE - One of our latest acquisitions and a real beauty. The slender pseudostem displays a soft reddish color and grows rapidly. The small fruit are very sweet and delicate. Resistant to fusarium wilt, grows 6-8 ft. tall.

SABA - The "sequoia" of the banana plants with huge pseudostem (range 20"-45" diameter) and heights ranging from 16-20 ft. here, however clients have reported even greater sizes in other growing areas of the country. The wonderful tasting cooking banana makes the best tostones we have ever eaten. A sturdy plant and somewhat cool tolerant. (A must for the collector and those that want BIG)

SUPER DWARF - A real midget banana growing about 3 ft. tall with wide leaves and green coloration. It produces a small bunch of medium - large fruit. Great for containerized growing or small spots in the yard or garden. A real cutie.

SIAM RUBY* - A new member to our collection this year. Has beautiful RED leaves, top & bottom that vary in color depending on the amount of sun it gets. Great for that splash of color in the landscape and gives bananas too. I can't comment on the fruit or flavor as of yet, still awaiting our first harvest. We have great expectations for this beauty.

TEXTILES - Also known as the Abaca and Giant Pisang is a seeded variety that is used primarily for its fiber in the Philippines for making hemp rope. It is disease resistant, grows about 16 ft. in the US & has a beautiful golden inflorescence.

THOUSAND FINGERS - This novelty is as unique as beautiful. When full grown at 10-12 ft. It produces a stalk of tiny round bananas that can continue to make fruit until it touches the ground (sometimes 5 ft. long or more) Mostly used for ornamentation or landscape however the fruit is edible. (If you are patient)

TRULY TINY - a cute and sturdy plant that grows about 3 ft. Tall and produces an edible but small raceme of mild flavored, medium size fruit. A great addition to patios, container growing, or borders.

TUUGIA - An unusual plant in that it produces a full sized, thin fruit that has a slight "s" shape. A fast growing variety with a light green pseudostem and reproduces rhizomes rapidly. Height 10-12 ft.

VALERY - One of the Cavendish varieties that produces a full sized fruit with a creamy texture. A midsize plant good for backyard treats for the family. Height 10 ft.

VELUTINA - This small ornamental, 3-6 ft. is a gorgeous thin leaved green plant that produces a small, hot pink, fuzzy banana that stands erect (australimusa). When it is mature it peals itself back exposing a white seeded fruit just ready for the plucking. Use care if eating, the seeds are like a buckshot and could easily chip a tooth.

VEINTE COHOL* - A dessert variety originating in the Philippine area and having green pseudostem with some brown patches. The small plump fruit (3-4") are soft and sweet. Height about 8-10 ft. Current research shows it to be a cool hardy and rapid to fruit, a real plus in the short summers. This is what you have been asking for, one that fruits fast before the warmth is gone for those short growing seasons!

WILLIAMS - A Cavendish type that produces a full sized fruit with excellent flavor. An all 'round favorite. Grows about 8-10 ft. in height. A popular variety for good reasons.

The plant of the White Iholene is light green and covered with waxy flakes of excess chitin that gives it a white appearance. There is only a slight hint of burgundy color beneath the leaf and definite line on only one margin of the bottom of each leaf. Heads of fruit are about 30 pounds consisting of eight to ten hands when well raised. The fruit has a large gradient between the larger fruit of the top hands and the smaller fruit of the bottom hands

YANGAMBI KM-5 - (Sometimes just called the KM-5) An excellent tasting small dessert banana from West Central Africa. It is very disease resistant and sturdy. Height about 12 ft.

A dwarf Cavendish sub type that produces a sweet, creamy great tasting fruit. Height about 5-6 ft.

ZEBRINA - Also called the Sumatrana, Blood (and sometimes the Rojo, although incorrectly) This ornamental maroon & green variegated leaf banana produces a very tiny dark maroon seeded fruit that is cute to look at but not edible. It adds a little color to all tropical landscape. Is especially nice around decks & pools. Height 6-8 ft


  1. Now I'm lusting after several of these varieties. They look lovely!

    Do you know if they're all available in Australia?