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nafex - Re: [NAFEX] Bananas

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  • From: Claude Sweet <>
  • To: North American Fruit Explorers <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Bananas
  • Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 14:47:33 -0800


It has been years since I attended college and I am now retired. There may have been some additional research relating to the influence of pollination on the taste/flavor of vegetables and fruits whose pulp, rather than seed, is consumed.
My recollection is that the pollination only produces genetic changes in the seed, except for the rare exceptions, and does not change the flavor or taste of the tissue (pulp) that surrounds the seed.
Some species of mangoes can be seed grown as the seeds are identical to the female parent and thus breed true. Another exception is the pollination variant Oriental Persimmons that are astringent when seedless and non astringent when pollinated. The flesh surrounding the seed changes color in the chocolate persimmon cultivar so that the effect is very easy to see and taste. The change in astringency occurs with any pollen source, not a specific cross pollination transfer.

Bananas that are allowed to reach full maturity on the stalk prior to harvesting are much sweeter. I prefer to actually allow the fruit to change color while attached to the plant. The commercial fruit is removed about 6 weeks prior to full maturity so it can be transported by ship to distant locations. The commercial banana fruit that is available never reaches the full flavor of the tree ripen fruit.

Claude Sweet
San Diego, CA

Claude Sweet wrote:

How do you pollinate the female banana flowers when the male flowers only
appear after the flower stalk has ceased producing the female flowers?

Doreen Howard wrote:
I grow several varieties--Raji Puri, Dwarf Cavenish and Zan Moreno--and they
flower at different times, but close together. You are right about many
cultivars not requiring pollination, but I do it anyway on the following
theory. When I grew them in the ground, the banana flowers that were visited
by sweat bees and hummingbirds had the sweetest fruits. And these fruits had
prominent seeds. I may be wrong in my theory, but I'm still experimenting.

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