In 1870, a strange fruit became a novelty purchase in New York food markets. By 1904, bananas had become the most popular fruit in the United Kingdom, and growing demand for bananas in North America and Europe lay the foundation for profound and ongoing environmental and social impacts in producer countries. Bananas, whether eaten raw (dessert bananas) or cooked (plantains), belong to the genus Musa. Up to a dozen bunches of fruit grow in one year from the single stalk of a fleshy plant often mistaken for a tree. The hundreds of cultivated banana varieties are sterile hybrids derived from two wild species native to Southeast Asia. Lacking viable seed, domesticated Musa are propagated by felling the stem to allow new shoots to grow from ...

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