Explore the largest rainforest in captivity. Trek through the humid tropics via SE Asia, West Africa and South America.
Bananas are cultivated around the tropics. There are about 1,000 types of banana: sweet, savoury, round, bent, straight, green, yellow, pink, silvery, even spotted and striped! We have a large banana plantation in our Rainforest Biome.
Native to South East Asia, bananas are now cultivated around the tropics. They thrive in shaded and moist ravines, marshlands, semi-marshlands and slopes from near sea level to 1200m altitude.
Bananas are eaten the world over, and are one of the top selling items in supermarkets. Most bananas are consumed where they are grown: in the tropics, where they are a vital staple crop providing food from fruit, bud and leaf as well as shade, shelter, building materials, wrappings for food and other goods, even shrouds. Sportspeople love them for their energy boosting properties and because the potassium they contain helps in avoiding muscle cramp.
The Future Harvest Centre, International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain (INIBAP), manages the largest genebank of banana tissue culture in the world. The collection, essentially, is not owned by anyone but is held ‘in trust’ for the public good and its accessions are freely available. In recent years great advances have been made in techniques of deep freezing or (cryopreserving) plant material. INIBAP is now engaged in efforts to cryopreserve the entire banana collection of over 1,000 accessions in order to improve its long-term conservation.