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Basjoo Banana in Seattle

Musa basjoo
Musa basjoo bloom on July 6, 2013

We have been very proud of our Basjoo Banana this year. It has actually bloomed for us. Basjoo Banana - botanical name Musa basjoo is also known as Japanese banana or fiber banana. It is one of most hardy bananas. It is a native of Ryukuy islands of Japan of which the largest island in the chain is Okinawa. Although this chain of islands is at a latitude father south of Seattle (26 degrees north versus 47 degrees north), it is hardy down to -10 degrees. Did you know that the banana's botanical family - Musa - honors Antonia Musa, Roman physican of the 1st century B.C?

Basjoo Banana 2007
Taken May 2007 - that's them on the far right

I don't remember when we first planted the banana. I looked over my pictures and came across this picture above from June 2007. The banana had already started to send up several 'pups' so I think we had planted it either in 2005 or 2006.

Typically in the years from 2007, it has died to the ground and sent up several new pups. It would grow to at least 10 feet or more (the height of our roof) by September every year. But it has never bloomed - until this year.

Last winter was very mild. The stalk which is basically a coiled group of leaves did not die or crumple over the winter. When G checked it this spring - he saw a green sprout. So he just left stalks instead of cutting it to see what it would do.

June and July have been very warm and it has grown to way above the roof. It was around the 4th of July that I noticed the flower. Two stalks have blooms and produced bananas. They are not edible. In fact from the pictures on the web, it looks like they will produce large seeds instead of the small almost invisible seeds in commercial bananas.

The bees and flies love the blooms. There is quite a bit of activity in the area. The flowers have slight tropical scent. It has been over a month since I first noticed the flower and it continues to bloom. The flower bracts each unfurl somewhat like an artichoke with a row of flowers at the base. These become a bunch of bananas.

We continue to water it well and wait to see what happens. How exciting to have it blooming in our garden.

Basjoo Banana June 2009
June 2009 Look at all the pups

Basjoo Banana Fall 2012
September 2012 - The usual height by September

Front yard
This is what they looked like this spring - April 28th 2013

Musa basjoo
Just after I noticed the bloom - July 7th 2013

Musa basjoo blooms

Musa basjoo blooms
Two stalks blooming

Musa basjoo flowers
Close up of the flower

Musa basjoo fruit
A row of immature fruit


Comments (3)

How awesome is that? Thanks for posting your pictures and telling us a little of the history of your plant. You've had it quite a while. I just bought my first banana this year.

How cool is that? Mine sometimes blooms but usually later in the year. You have the magic touch!

Amy:

I'd be excited too! Banana flowers look like something from another planet, don't they?

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