Gros Michel banana
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|Musa acuminata 'Gros Michel'|
Gros Michel bananas from Jamaica.
|Cultivar group||AAA Group|
Its official designation is Musa acuminata (AAA Group) 'Gros Michel'.
- Musa acuminata L. cv. 'Gros Michel'
- Musa × paradisiaca L. cv. 'Gros Michel'
Gros Michel is known as Guineo Giganet, Banano, and Platano Roatan in Spanish. It is also known as Pisang Ambon in Malaysia, Pisang Embung in Indonesia, Thihmwe in Burma, and Kluai hom thong in Thailand.
By 1960, the major importers of Gros Michel bananas were nearly bankrupt, and had waited until the last minute to deal with the financial and environmental crisis. The Cavendish had to be cultivated so consumers would still be able to obtain bananas.
The Honduras Foundation for Agricultural Research cultivates several varieties of the Gros Michel. They have succeeded in producing a few seeds by hand-pollinating the flowers with pollen from diploid, seeded bananas. See also Panama disease#Banana breeding impeded by triploidy.
The international name of this banana variety is ‘Gros Michel’ (Musa acuminata AAA). This variety was once the dominant export banana to Europe and North America, grown in South America and Africa. In the 1950′s the Panama disease, a wilt caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum, wiped out vast tracts of ‘Gros Michel’ plantations in South America and Africa, but the cultivar survived in Thailand. The original 'Gros Michel' is said to have a unique fragrance.
After the banana catastrophe South American and African plantations switched to the resistant Cavendish banana subgroup (another Musa acuminata AAA). The clone ‘Dwarf Cavendish’, today’s food banana in the west, has a different flavour, a different morphology (‘Gros Michel’ is slimmer) and unlike ‘Gros Michel’ they do not turn fully yellow in tropical lowlands. If we compare the plants, a ‘Gros Michel’ can reach seven meters, while a ‘Dwarf Cavendish’ only the height of a man. A Malaysian variety within the Cavendish subgroup sometimes found in Thailand is ‘Gluay hom kiao’.
The original 'Gros Michel' variety is a top export for producing countries in Malaysia and Thailand, with the grade A bananas being exported to Japan, and increasingly to China. This original Cavendish is preferred for its unique fragrance which is said to have a much blander taste.
The Cavendish banana is so named after an early cultivator in England, William George Spencer Cavendish (1790-1858), Duke of Devonshire and President of the Royal Horticultural Society. He probably got the original Cavendish banana from the Canary islands where they had been grown for centuries since their introduction from Asia (Vietnam).
See also 
- Robert J. Lancashire (25 August, 2006). "Jamaican bananas and plantains". The Department of Chemistry, University of the West Indies. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
- Koeppel, Dan (2008-06-18). "Yes, We Will Have No Bananas" (Editorial). New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
- Michel H. Porcher; Prof. Snow Barlow (19/07/2002). "Sorting Musa names". The University of Melbourne, . Retrieved 11 January 2011.
- Koeppel, Dan (19 June 2005). "Can This Fruit Be Saved?". Popsci.com. Retrieved 2008-06-22.
- Carla Helfferich (1990). "Battling for Bananas". Alaska Science Forum. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
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