There are two groups of the hardy banana plant, Musa basjoo, in the herbaceous border and, in the smaller of the two groups, a flower stalk can be seen dangling from the top of one of the plants. This is only the third time this has been seen in the college since the plants were left out all year round, the first was back in September 2010, see blog entry 'Banana Flower' , the second time was two years ago, in October 2014. However, this year's flower emerged a lot earlier than on the two previous occasions, it was first spotted at the end of July!
In order to produce a flower and fruit, inedible in this case, the plant needs between 9 and 15 months of temperatures above 15 degrees centigrade (60 degrees Fahrenheit) and, although these banana plants are kept outside all year, it is the fact that they are wrapped under horticultural fleece from October/November to June that creates a warm micro climate, enough for a flower stalk to develop. The fruit can be seen behind the very unusual yellow/brown flower and are greater in number and in size than seen on both previous stalks.
|Fruit and Flower|
This pseudostem (trunk) will not need to be wrapped this year as now that it has produced a flower and fruit it will die (monocarpic) so will be cut down to the ground in October, a smaller sucker (pup) is already growing to replace it though, no tall ladders required to wrap this new generation. To see the wrapping of the banana refer to blog entry for the 19th November 2015 'Wrapping Banana Plants During The Tail End Of Storm Barney'.
|Banana Plant In Flower (2nd October 2014)|
|Fruit Stalk (2nd October 2014)|
|Fruit (2nd October 2014)|
|Banana Flower (2nd Oct 2014)|