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- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: Bananas
- From: "David M. Lanning" <david@HEWIT.COM>
- Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997 17:04:14 +0100
- Message-Id: <199704041616.IAA18856@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.EDU>
- Sender: "The Book Arts: binding, typography, collecting" <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
I have found this thread on bananas absolutely intriguing and thought that
I may as well stick in my two pennies (cents) worth!
Prior to joining Hewit's about 10 years ago, I lived on a Kibbutz for 7
years in the Northern part of Israel. During my last year there, I found
myself managing the kibbutz's 5 square mile banana plantation. Never did I
expect that the topic of bananas would crop-up (excuse the pun :-) ) in my
current line of work.
I have a few facts which may be of interest to those following this thread:
- Bananas do not grow on trees. They are in fact a 'grass'
- Water comprises of approximately 90% of the total weight of the plant.
- Each individual plant dies after bearing fruit. The 'trunk' or stalk of
the 'grandmother' is normally left to decompose which in the process feeds
three 'mother' plants sprouting from around the base of the 'grandmother'
plant - which in turn feeds three shoots (tubas) sprouting from around the
base of each 'mother' plant. These shoots will supply the crop for picking
about 15 month later. It takes about 15 months for each plant to grow from
a shoot to its full height of about 10-12 feet with fruit (for the 'paz'
variety, 6-7 feet for the dwarf varieties). So in an ideal farming
scenario, each family group will be visited twice a year for picking.
- It is a misconception that the banana originated in Central and South
America - it is now believed that they originated in the Middle East
probably in Egypt.
- The bananas that we all eat today are hybrids and do not re-seed.
However, there are less tasty and succulent varieties which do re-seed.
These are not farmed, but are normally found growing in the wilds of the
Indian sub-continent and South America.
By-the-way, a very effective way of removing banana plant sap from clothes
is by rubbing in Lemon Juice prior to washing.
Now, getting back to the topic of paper - am I correct in assuming that
banana paper is only used as a covering medium and not for writing on. I
ask this, because the dry fibres of the banana plant are quite a dark brown
and I cannot see how they would be suitable for writing on - unless of
course they have been bleached during their manufacture?
David M. Lanning
J. Hewit & Sons Ltd.
Tel: +44 (0) 181 965 5377
Fax: +44 (0) 181 453 0414
Web Site: http://www.hewit.com