Are double-bunch plantain plants really worth it?

in Homesteading2 months ago

Ever since I started cultivating my own garden, I have been raving about double-bunch plantain plants. It all started when I noticed the stems of some of the plantain plants I cultivated splitting up into two. It is like buying a product and getting another copy of the product free of charge. I mean, who wouldn't want free things?

A double-bunch plantain without physical splitting of the plant's stem.

That's what I thought initially, and that seems to be what the academic and scientific community thinks. The double-bunch attribute stems from a mutation that divides the stem of the plant into two during vegetative growth.

Each stem, sharing a common root with the other, then continues its vegetative growth, flowers, and produces a bunch of plantain fruits. Sometimes, the splitting of the stem will be obvious externally as observed in my own garden. Other times, the splitting with not be obvious externally but two bunches of fruits will just spring up from the top of the plant.

Recently though, I am beginning to rethink my rave and desire for the double-bunch attribute. It started when I noticed that the flowers brought out by the split stems were significantly smaller than the flowers brought out by single-stem plants. Logically, I felt the smaller the flower, the smaller the fruits that will emanate, and vice versa. But I waited to be proven wrong.

A yet-to-fruit double-bunch plantain with the stem already physically divided into two

Fast forward to a couple of days ago, it was harvest time. Luckily for me, two plants that flowered simultaneously appeared to be due for harvest. One of the plants is a single-stem plant while the other is a double-stem, double-bunch plant. I harvested both fruits and the result of the harvest is as below.

First image is the yield from the double-bunch plant while the second image is the yield from the single-bunch plant. Which one would you take?

From all indications, the single-stem single-bunch plant produced bigger fruits compared to the split-stem double-bunch plant. In actual fact, you can see the single-bunch fruits already ripening right on their mother plant while the fruits of the double-bunch plant still look very green.

Merely looking from the outside, it appears the single-bunch fruits will weigh more than if the fruits of the double-bunch plant are combined. That is if the actual fruits are separated from the other biomass. If anyone is offered the two bunches of the double-bunch fruit and the single bunch of the single-bunch fruit, a rational person will take the latter.

Thus, my conclusion is that the double-bunch plantain plant may not necessarily have a better yield than the single-bunch plantain plant. This conclusion would appear logical based on what I observed morphologically and in addition to the following hypothesis:

  1. Single-bunch and double-bunch plantains have single roots. This means that a plantain with a double bunch will have to share resources with the bunches while the single bunch of a single-bunch plantain gets all the resources. In other words, the single bunch will get twice the amount of resources each of the bunch in a double-bunch plant gets. This is based on the assumption that all other variables are kept constant.
  2. The two plants flowered at the same time, grew on the same soil, and received the same amount of precipitation, air, and sunlight. These should suffice as keeping all other variables constant.

My observations and hypotheses may be flawed due to:

  1. Microvariation is climate
  2. Microvariation in soil and soil nutrient
  3. Microvariation in topography
  4. The double-bunch plantain may need more time to reach maturity compared to the single-bunch plantain.

I hope to conduct a proper experiment to test my hypothesis again come the next growing season.

TL: DR

Double-bunch plantain plants produce smaller fingers and seemingly lower yields than single-bunch plantain plants. The direct observation requires more research investigations but all indications presumptively point to lower yield.

Shoot me your thoughts in the comment section.

Thanks for reading.

All images used in this post were taken by me using Samsung Galaxy Tab (A) 2016.
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Hi @gentleshaid, These double plants are born spontaneously or are they the product of some experiment?. Here we have banana plants and I have never seen one grow with a double stem or double fruit.
Thank you for your interesting publication.

The trait evolved as a result of mutation, not a product of some experiment. You have to specifically plant its sucker in order to get a double bunch harvest.

Thanks for reading through.


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