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The banana trade is focused on varieties

The banana trade is focused on varieties that are most suited for storage and transportation. Although not the tastiest variety of banana, the Gros Michel ("Big Mike") dominated export markets until the 1950s. French naturalist Nicolas Baudin, pictured on stamps issued by France, Australia and Mauritius (fig. 9), carried a few corms of this banana from Southeast Asia to Martinique. In 1835, French botanist Jean Francois Pouyat carried Baudin's fruit from Martinique to Jamaica where he cultivated a sweet yellow mutant that did not require cooking. This variety grew in dense bunches that were easy to ship and its thick peel made it resilient to bruising during transport. When that variety succumbed to Panama disease it was replaced by Cavendish variety that constituted 47% of world production in 2019. Now that variety is threatened by fungal diseases that have significantly reduced banana yields.

Painted Stork Nests

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© Derrick Grose, 2021