Musa-ings on the Mato(o)ke Mysteries (2): The Forest

[~ 10 minutes]

Listening to: Litchmond, Chasing rainbows

{Second instalment of a series of articles on Ugandan bananas, part of the Ugandan portraits series. For the first article, see here; for an introduction to the project, see here (it opens in new tab).}

I forgot to say it before, but matoke isn’t African, either. Adopted and made honorary African crop, yes. But not originally so.

So, where does it come from?

The homeland of the banana, the species out of which all our edible bananas come from, is in Southern Asia & Papua New Guinea (PNG). Quite far away from Lake Victoria, as you can see.

These species are two: Musa acuminata Colla., and Musa balbisiana Colla. The first is found mostly in PNG and surrounding islands; the second, in mainland Southeast Asia. These two species are genetically distinct, and are referred to, in the literature, as possessing an AA genome (M. acuminata), or a BB genome (M. balbisiana).

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