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Gros Michel, often known as Big Mike, is an export cultivar of banana, and was until the 1950s the main variety exported to the United States.[2]


Gros Michel is a triploid cultivar of the wild banana Musa acuminata, belonging to the AAA group.[3]

Its official designation is Musa acuminata (AAA Group) ‘Gros Michel’.

Synonyms include:

  • Musa acuminata L. cv. ‘Gros Michel’
  • Musa × paradisiaca L. cv. ‘Gros Michel’

Gros Michel is known as Guineo Giganet, Banano, and Platano Roatan in Spanish. It is also known as Pisang Ambon in Malaysia, Pisang Embung in Indonesia, Thihmwe in Burma, and Kluai hom thong in Thailand.[3]


The 1923 musical hit “Yes, We Have No Bananas” is said to have been inspired by a shortage of the “Big Mike” bananas, which began with the infestation of Panama disease early in the 20th century.[4]

By 1960, the major importers of Gros Michel bananas were nearly bankrupt, and had waited until the last minute to deal with the financial and environmental crisis. The Cavendish had to be cultivated so consumers would still be able to obtain bananas.[2]

The Honduras Foundation for Agricultural Research cultivates several varieties of the Gros Michel. They have succeeded in producing a few seeds by hand-pollinating the flowers with pollen from diploid, seeded bananas.[5]

Written on June 6th, 2012 , Fruits Tags:

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