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Over a thousand varieties

Over a thousand varieties of banana are grown around the world and the wide range of plants in the family is evident from an examination of even a few of the many stamps depicting bananas. A 1994 set of five stamps from Ethiopia depicts Ensete ventricosum, commonly known as enset, Abyssinian banana, pseudo-banana or false banana (fig. 4). The domesticated plant is only cultivated in Ethiopia, where it is not the fruit but other parts of the root and plant that are processed and used in a variety of foods. Fibre from the leaves is used for ropes, twine, baskets, and general weaving and the dried leaf-sheaths are used as packing material. Large green cooking bananas called plantain are depicted on the 1978 "Operation Feed the Nation" issue (fig. 5) from Nigeria, West Africa's largest banana producer (providing about 2.73 million tonnes of banana per year). A distinctive variety of red banana appears on Rwanda's 1987 "Food Self-Sufficiency" issue (fig. 6). Almost unrecognizable are the Polynesian fe'i bananas depicted in the painting "Farmers" by Daniel Adam on maximum card from the "Paintings by Artists Living in Polynesia" airmail set issued in 1972 (fig7). In 1970 Vietnam issued a set of four stamps depicting western, pepper (cavendish), king and honey varieties of bananas (fig 8). These stamps show that there is much more variety in the bananas of the world than most of us see on our grocery shelves.

Painted Stork Nests

Painted Stork Nests

Painted Stork Nests

Painted Stork Nests

Painted Stork Nests

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© Derrick Grose, 2021