It’s time to go bananas! This is a great time to enjoy one of the most popular fruits in the world. Bananas (Musa spp.) are an herbaceous perennial, not a tree, with a pseudostem emerging from an underground root structure called a corm. Each individual leave is attached to the corm under the soil level. The fruit is botanically a berry, a stone free fruit produced from one flower containing one ovary—just like grapes and tomatoes.
Bananas might be the longest cultivated food crops on earth, grown by humans for thousands of years. It is one of our most important fruit crops, with more than 100 billion bananas eaten every year. The difference between bananas and plantains is more related to use than botany; we tend to call the sweeter, more delicate dessert types bananas, and the starchier firm types plantain. Many of the types grown around the world are dual purpose, able to be cooked or eaten fresh out of hand. In many areas, bananas are a primary source of starch and nutrition. The “grocery store” banana we are all familiar with is a Cavendish type, chosen for ease of cultivation and ability to withstand shipment over long distances. Most banana exports Central America, but India is the world’s largest producer.
Here at the park we have about 70 different types of banana, so come down for a visit and sample some of the most delicious home-grown bananas you have ever tasted!
Other fruits you might encounter are:
Mamey Sapote, Pouteria sapota
Canistel, Pouteria campechiana
Gamboge, Garcina ganthochymus
Red or Beach Mangosteen, Garcinia hombroniana