Cavendish, the man behind the banana

William George Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire (1790-1858) became the wealthiest man in England when his father died in 1930.

The Duke was an almost obsessive collector of books, paintings, sculptures and orchids. Owning an orchid was considered a status symbol in the first half of the nineteenth century and the desire to own more of these remarkable plants became a mark of the wealthy and established gentry.
[Cavendish, the 6th Duke of Devonshire]
In order to further increase his orchid collection, Cavendish decided that an expedition should be send to India. One of his gardeners, John Gibson, was to lead the expedition and when Gibson arrived back in England two years later, he had collected several thousand plants, including three hundred orchids with well over 100 of them new species.

All sorts of tropical plants were collected and one of them was a banana plant from China. It was named ‘Cavendish’ in honour of the Duke.

Little did William George Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire, know that his banana would become the world’s most favoured banana.

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