Two days ago I wrote a post about a new bunch of bananas growing in our yard and about how quickly bananas (indeed all plants) grow here in Ecuador. We got several responses about the post both on the blog and on Mary’s Facebook page about the new bananas.
One very interesting response came from our good friend Glenda Reed. She and her husband, Bob are in North Carolina right now, but are preparing to return to their new home in Playas, Ecuador soon. Before Playas they owned a home and lived part-year in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. While living in Vilcabamba they were taught about the Grandma, Mama, and Baby Banana trees. Glenda wrote this to us on Facebook.
“Has anyone explained the concept of the “grandma, mama, and baby” of the banana tree? If not, here goes: The banana trees grow in groups of three. The oldest and tallest, the grandma, is the one that produces the hand of the bananas. After the bananas are harvested the grandma stalk is cut. The middle size stalk then becomes the grandma and will produce the next hand, the baby becomes the mama, and a new stalk will sprout becoming the baby. They cycle completes itself over and over again. When out gardener in Vilcabamba explained this concept to us I thought it was so neat!”
So, I grabbed my camera and went out to the yard to see if I could prove the story true.
We have banana trees growing in a four or five locations around our grounds and sure enough – they do group up in clusters of three. There is a large diameter one which is the oldest (grandma) and sometimes both of the others (mama and baby) are present at the same time, or in the younger sprouts, two are there with a small shoot showing the emerging baby which will eventually complete the cluster.
Our caretaker grows the banana trees primarily for ornamentation, so we are not diligent about thinning the bananas after they produce unless they bend and crack from the weight of a banana stalk. While I was going around the yard to look for clusters of three, as if on cue, a previously unobserved bunch of bananas became too much for the hollow trunk of this plant to support and I watched it bend to the earth.
I pointed it out to Giovanni and we now will not have to wait for the new bunch that I pointed out on the sixth to get to this point. In a few days the first layer of bananas on this new fallen stalk will begin to turn yellow and, after that, we will have bananas for a couple of weeks. I have counted over 150 bananas on one of these big bunches!
So, it looks like the grandma, mama, and baby – cluster of three theory is true. Here is an old and newer cluster growing beside each other.
And a few other family groups I found in our yard.
So, we should be eating sweet bananas for quite a while here in San Clemente, Ecuador where they grow year-round in the, “land of eternal spring.”
Life is good (and sweet) in Ecuador.