Wednesday, June 4, 2008

but "b" is for banana!

today i learned the sad news that my beloved bananas... are possibly doomed to extinction within my lifetime!!?!?

you may have noticed that bananas have no seeds, which begs the question: how do bananas reproduce? the original breeds of bananas found in india (several thousand years ago) apparently had seeds, but the mutated seedless varieties were more pleasing to the palate. so ancient plant breeders propagated the tasty seedless kind by "grafting sterile mutants onto wild stems." after thousands of years of repeating this process, remaining bananas are sterile and defenseless against disease.... thus DOOMED!!

johann hari believes that the most damage has been done in the last 50 years due to profit-obsessed companies ignoring warnings. my feeling is that a combination of active manipulation of plants over time and apathetic human groups interested in money money money have contributed to the problem, even though the time frames of these two contributers are dramatically different.

what worries me is that this has happened so rapidly to a popular fruit loved by so many around the world.... so how many other fruits and vegetables will suffer the same fate before we humans fully grasp the issues at hand?

for more info on the above image of the banana floating in orbit, see the geostationary banana over texas project.


lalamandala said...


Anonymous said...

I agree that bananas are very important, but this Geostationary Banana Over Texas thing has got to be one of the silliest, most useless uses of money and energy I've ever seen. On the other hand, they don't actually have the money and are relying on donations. Surely $1.5 million would be used more effectively in areas of science or charities.

Now might be a good time to invest in a large commercial dehydrator and a few tons of bananas. These things are gonna be rare for a while at least!

Unknown said...

anon... i fully agree, but i still like the picture that the silly project created ;)

Unsui said...

Hey Doc - thats a pretty old news . Anyways evolution and extinction way of life.Its only that the species called "Homo sepian" pigeon-holes, analyzes and that maybe a reason. The day we are extinct life can resume its normalcy :).

Was reading my favorite bill bryson book last weekend. Reading the History of nearly everything always helps me to thing in perspective :). Have a you read that book?


Unknown said...


everything is relative, it was new news to me! no, i've never read that bill bryson book, but i've been interested in reading something of his. i just started "songs of distant earth" by arthur c. clarke.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


I happen to have a several banana seeds that I bought just the other day.
Admittedly they are of a slightly wilder variety and come from Mozambique but the fruit taste very good.

I guess as long as I have these seeds I am the banana's last hope!

Unknown said...

anon2 - thanks for the link. it makes sense that with so many species of banana, one being affected by disease doesnt mean that they all could be!

anon3 - banana seeds, eh? can we be friends?!