Cavendish banana

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Cavendish bananas are typically sold while still slightly green.
Developing flowers of the Cavendish banana.
A young plant bought from a garden center and was labeled musa 'bananarama'.

Cavendish banana is a banana cultivar group originating from Vietnam and China.[1] These cultivars replaced the Gros Michel banana as the most import bananas in international commerce in the 1950s after crops of the latter were devastated by Panama disease.

Taxonomy and nomenclature[edit]

Cavendish bananas are subgroup of the triploid (AAA) cultivars of Musa acuminata.[2]

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 first developed for commercial exploitation worldwide.

Cavendish cultivars are distinguished by height and features of the fruits,[3][4] and different cultivars may be recognized as distinct by different authorities. The most important clones for fruit production include: 'Dwarf Cavendish', 'Grande Naine', 'Lacatan', 'Poyo', 'Valéry', and 'Williams' under one system of cultivar classification.[3] Another classification includes: 'Double', 'Dwarf Cavendish', 'Extra Dwarf Cavendish', 'Grande Naine', 'Pisang Masak Hijau' (='Lacatan'), and 'Giant Cavendish' as a group of several difficult to distinguish cultivars (including 'Poyo', 'Robusta', 'Valéry', & 'Williams').[4] 'Grande Naine' is the most important clone in international trade, while 'Dwarf Cavendish' is the most widely grown clone.[4] 'Grande Naine' is also known as Chiquita banana.[5]

Other common names include Klue Hom Kom, Pisang serendah, Chinese banana, and Canary banana.

The Valery is a hardy Cavendish banana variety.[6]


Cavendish bananas accounted for 47% of global banana production between 1998 and 2000, and the vast majority of bananas entering international trade.[7]

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.[8]

History of cultivation[edit]

Cavendish bananas entered the world market through populations that have existed in the Canary Islands since the fifteenth century.[3] 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.[9] 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 they were successfully grown in the same soils as previously affected Gros Michel plants, many presumed the Cavendish cultivars were 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.[10]

Because cultivated bananas are propagated by conventional vegetative reproduction rather than through sexual reproduction, each of the Cavendish clones 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).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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" 
  2. ^ Michel H. Porcher; Prof. Snow Barlow (2002-07-19). "Sorting Musa names". The University of Melbourne, [1]. Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Mohan Jain, S.; Priyadarshan, P. M. (2009). Breeding Plantation Tree Crops: Tropical Species. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. ISBN 978-0-387-71199-7. 
  4. ^ a b c Ploetz, R.C.; Kepler, A.K.; Daniells, J. & Nelson, S.C. (2007). "Banana and Plantain: An Overview with Emphasis on Pacific Island Cultivars". In Elevitch, C. R. Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry. Hōlualoa, Hawai'i: Permanent Agriculture Resources (PAR). Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  5. ^ Lisa Beth Voldeck (2010). "Indoor Banana Trees". Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Arias, Pedro; Dankers, Cora; Liu, Pascal; Pilkauskas, Paul (2003). The World Banana Economy 1985-2002. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 92-5-105057-0. ISSN 1810-0783. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "PLU Codes (Alphabetical Order)". Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  9. ^ "The Cavendish Banana". 2002-07-19. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  10. ^ 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.

External links[edit]