|Musa acuminata 'Dwarf Cavendish'|
Cavendish bananas are the most commonly sold bananas in the world market.
|Cultivar group||AAA Group|
|Origin||Vietnam, China, Canary Islands|
The Dwarf Cavendish banana (or simply Cavendish banana) is a banana cultivar originally from Vietnam and China. It became the primary replacement for the Gros Michel banana in the 1950s after crops of the latter were devastated by Panama disease. The name 'Dwarf Cavendish' is in reference to the height of the pseudostem, not the fruit (which are medium sized). It is one of the most commonly planted banana varieties from the Cavendish group, and the main source of commercial Cavendish bananas along with Grand Nain.
Taxonomy and nomenclature 
Its accepted name is Musa acuminata (AAA Group) 'Dwarf Cavendish'.
- Musa acuminata Colla (Cavendish Group) cv. 'Dwarf Cavendish'
- Musa × paradisiaca L. cultigroup Dwarf Cavendish
- Musa cavendishii Lambert & Paxton var. nana
- Musa acuminata L. A. Colla
- Musa nana J. de Loureiro (name accepted at Mobot)
- Musa nana auct. non J. de Loureiro
- Musa chinensis R. Sweet
- Musa sinensis P. A. Sagot ex J. G. Baker
- Musa sinensis P. A. Sagot
- Musa sinensis R. Sweet ex P. A. Sagot
The fruit of other cultivars from the Cavendish group (AAA) are also often called 'Cavendish' bananas. Especially the Grand Nain cultivar (also known as Chiquita banana). Other cultivars belonging to the group include the Giant Cavendish (also known as Williams), Red Dacca, Masak Hijau, and Robusta. See Banana Cultivar AAA Group.
Cavendish bananas are named in honour of William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire, who acquired an early specimen, and from whose hothouses the cultivars were developed for commercial exploitation worldwide.
Other common names include Klue Hom Kom, Pisang serendah, Chinese banana, and Canary banana.
The Valery is a hardy Cavendish banana variety.
Cavendish plants grow up to a height of only 6 – 8 ft (1.8 - 2.4 m). The leaves are broad with short petioles. Its shortness makes it stable, wind-resistant, and easier to manage. This, in addition to its fast growth rate, makes it ideal for plantation cultivation. An easily recognizable characteristic of this cultivar is that the male bracts and flowers are not shed.
The fruits of the Cavendish bananas range from about 15 to 25 cm in length, and are thin skinned. Each plant can bear up to 90 fingers.
The fruits of the Cavendish bananas are eaten raw, used in baking, fruit salads, fruit compotes, and to complement foods. The outer skin is partially green when sold in food markets, and turns yellow when it ripens. As it ripens the starches turn to sugar making a sweeter fruit. When it reaches its final stage (stage 7), brown/black "sugar spots" develop. When overripe, the skin turns black and the flesh becomes mushy. Bananas ripen naturally until they are picked. Once picked they no longer turn yellow on their own, and need to be gassed with ethylene gas to start up ripening again. Most retailers sell bananas in stages 3-6, with stage 4 being the most ideal. The PLUs used for Cavendish bananas are 4011 (yellow) and 4186 (small yellow). Organic Cavendish bananas are assigned PLU 94011.
History of cultivation 
Cavendish bananas entered the world market through populations that have existed in the Canary Islands since the fifteenth century. They were first imported into England by Thomas Fyffe. They were later determined to be originally from China and Vietnam by William Spencer Cavendish's gardener, Sir Joseph Paxton. They entered commercial production in 1903 but didn't gain prominence until later when Panama disease attacked the dominant Gros Michel ("Big Mike") variety in the 1950s. Because it was successfully grown in the same soils as previously affected Gros Michel plants, many presumed the Cavendish cultivar was more resistant to Panama disease.
Contrary to this notion, in mid-2008, reports from Sumatra and Malaysia suggest Cavendish-like cultivars may be vulnerable to Panama disease. Because cultivated bananas are spread by conventional vegetative reproduction rather than through sexual reproduction, the Cavendish plants are genetically identical and cannot evolve disease resistance. As there is currently no effective fungicide against Panama disease, some have speculated about a future where Cavendish cultivars are not usable for farming. In such a scenario, a separate cultivar may be developed as a replacement (as happened with the Gros Michel).
The Honduras Foundation for Agricultural Research (FHIA) has been cross breeding wild banana types for decades, and has already created new banana varieties that are resistant to the Panama disease. However, the first new varieties have a distinct apple flavor, while otherwise being very similar to the Cavendish in look and handling. The FHIA-01 "Goldfinger" was registered as a patent in 1994 (US Patent PP08983) and the FHIA-03 "Sweetheart" variety is already cultivated in Cuba.
See also 
- Persley, G. J.; Pamela George (1996). "Portfolio of Projects". Banana Improvement: Research Challenge and Opportunity. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Publications. p. 29. ISBN 0-8213-3740-8. "Viet Nam is one of the centers of origin of Musa spp., and has many species, varieties, and clones. ... The banana export trade is primarily based on local varieties of Cavendish cultivars, which originated in Vietnam" More than one of
- "Bananas". http://www.innvista.com/. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- Mohan Jain, S.; Priyadarshan, P. M. (2009). Breeding Plantation Tree Crops: Tropical Species. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. ISBN 978-0-387-71199-7.
- "Big business: Banana". http://www.livingrainforest.org. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- details of the taxonomic naming of the cavendish banana
- "The Cavendish Banana". http://www.peaklandheritage.org.uk/. 19/07/2002. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- Michel H. Porcher; Prof. Snow Barlow (19/07/2002). "Sorting Musa names". The University of Melbourne, . Retrieved 11 January 2011.
- Lisa Beth Voldeck (2010). "Indoor Banana Trees". http://www.bellaonline.com/. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- "Sorting Musa names". Ginosar Tissue Culture Nurseries Ltd., Kibbutz Ginosar http://www.ginosar-t-c.co.il. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "Musa 'Dwarf Cavendish'". http://www.bananas.org/. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "PLU Codes (Alphabetical Order)". www.innvista.com. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
- Ploetz, R. C. 2005. Panama disease, an old nemesis rears its ugly head: Part 1, the beginnings of the banana export trades. Plant Health Progress doi:10.1094/PHP-2005-1221-01-RV.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Cavendish banana|
- Battling for Bananas (Panama disease and the Cavendish)
- Can This Fruit Be Saved? (June 2005 Popular Science article)
- Urban Legends Reference Pages: Food (Banana Peal) (Snopes article on banana disease)
- Banana Nutrition Information & Label (August 2009)
- Yes, We Will Have No Bananas (June 2008 New York Times article on Panama Disease potentially affecting the Cavendish banana)