On what bananas grow?
In the childhood I, being guided by a song “Chunga - Chiang“, considered that bananas grow on palm trees. Like dates or coconuts. And in general, bananas were not pleasant to me. In - the first, in their provincial shops were not. And in - the second when I once, having stood fair turn in Moscow near the Kiev station, bought these exotic fruit, they were on taste some wooden.
It became clear a bit later that bananas very much even tasty. If, of course, not to break them the put term much earlier then long to carry from Guatemala to Odessa, and then long to unload in Ilyichevsk, and then once again long to carry cars to the Moscow vegetable warehouse No. 16. Then fruit, all - decayed on the way to throw out in garbage, and on - Bolshevist the steadfast bananas which sustained all adversities of transportations, “to throw out“ on a counter of shops.
Approximately at the same time I learned that behind bananas on a palm tree it is not necessary to get. The banana bush is even not a tree, but a huge grass. Really huge. Above banana only the bamboo grows.
In what the grass differs from a tree? The fact that it is one-year. Grass life term - until when the plant blossomed and gave seeds. After that neither the stalk, nor leaves become necessary and the grass dies.
However, in the nature there are no rules without any exception. The stalk of wild banana dies off, but the root continues to live and lets out at distance in half-meter - meter from a former stalk new. So banana also moves on the jungle with a speed about a half a meter in a year there where the earth “is not exhausted“ yet.
The wild banana growing in itself as an ordinary plant, it is still possible to meet on its homeland in Malaysia or neighboring countries of Hugo - East Asia. At fruits of such wild banana rather thick skin, large seeds and not really sweet pulp. Not insects, but bats pollinate them.
It is necessary to notice that banana - one of the ancient plants which are most cultivated by the person. On islands of the Malay Archipelago as botanists established, it is grown up already by more than 10 thousand years. During this time people removed new grades of banana. Fruits of these grades more tasty and in them are not present seeds. If there are no seeds, then how they breed? With it plants are helped by the person. To the earth shanks which take from already existing bush land.
Many consider that the homeland of bananas - Africa, but it not so. These plants got to Africa from Hugo - East Asia. The Arab merchants for whom the Indian Ocean in the Middle Ages was same “closed sea“ what in due time the Mediterranean Sea was for ancient Greeks and Romans brought them here. They in 7 - m delivered a century bananas to Arabia and to Palestine.
It is necessary to tell that by that moment when on the west bank of Africa there were Portuguese seafarers (and there was it at the beginning of 15 - go centuries), bananas already “passed“ all continent from the East on the West. Portuguese for the first time could try them in Guinea. Exotic fruits were pleasant to them. They delivered bananas from Africa at first to the Canary Islands, and began to cultivate them in the colonies in America later. However, the first banana plantation in America was organized nevertheless by Spaniards on the island of Haiti which then was called Santo - Domingo.
And to Europe bananas reached the USA only in the last quarter 19 - go centuries. In 1876 at an exhibition in Philadelphia devoted to century of independence of the United States, Americans for the first time could try the surprising fruit brought from Costa - Ricky. Each banana cost 10 cents. So much then in America the glass of beer or liter of milk cost. It is necessary to tell that it was preceded by large monetary investments in creation of infrastructure in the territory of a number of the countries of the Central and South America which later the writer O`Genri called “the banana republics“. Only thanks to the narrow-gage railways and port terminals equipped with refrigerators laid in the jungle (the last achievement of equipment of that time!) gentle tropical fruit became possible to export to the USA and to Europe. The volume of sale of this delicacy was quite comparable with a volume of sale of coffee. Trade in bananas and other tropical fruit brought in big incomes. So big that the governments of many of “the banana republics“ tried to nationalize this trade. Also were right there overthrown “by more progressive“ juntas which understood better who in their country the real owner with whom it is better not to quarrel.
Yes, and Europe “placed“ on bananas too! Especially Germany. “The banana dope“ in this country was so strong that nazis after coming to power had to develop the propaganda company against the bananas imported from America in favor of native apples and raspberry. Why? Not to spend money which could be spent with bigger advantage for these “nonsenses“. For example, on arms of army.
Bananas in consciousness of Germans strongly were associated with safe life which there led their country at the beginning of 20 - go centuries. As a result, after reunification of Germany in its east part nearly a year demand for it “a yellow miracle“ was steadily high, and the country had to increase import of bananas from South America.
I admit that I treat bananas quietly. To writing of this article I was roused by a recent trip across Israel. For several days I had to pass many kilometers on coast of the lake of Kineret and on the Jordanian valley. I was not long ago in these parts therefore to me a large number of plantations on which just bananas also grew up was evident at once. I was not too lazy even to go out of the car and to make small excursion along “beds“ on which the huge grass yielding tasty and useful fruits with an interesting story is planted.