A noteworthy banana: Lakatan

The Lakatan (previously known as Lacatan) is a Musa acuminate and is a so-called dessert or cooking banana.

This banana cultivar originates from the Philippines and it is very much adapted to the humid conditions that prevail on the islands. It thrives best in areas with mean annual temperatures of 26-30oC and is frost sensitive. It will stop growing altogether when temperatures drop below 13oC. It prefers an annual rainfall of about 3000 mm evenly distributed throughout the year, which is therefore about 250 mm a month.
[Image by ilikerareplants.blogspot.com]
In neighbouring countries it is variously known as Pisang Berangan (Malaysia), Pisang Barangan, Pisang Barangan Merah, Pisang Berangan Kuning (Indonesia), Kluai Hom Maew and Kluai Ngang Phaya (Thailand). It was introduced in Jamaica as early 1625, where it became known as Jamaican Red and quickly became one of the most popular bananas. It subsequently spread to Caribbean islands such as Cuba where it is still known as Cuban Red.

The Lakatan is a tall banana shrub with brilliant red-skinned fruits. The plant itself is as visually striking as the fruits: all parts are marked with brilliant shades of red, from the pseudostem to the midribs of the long, broad leaves. The Lakatan can grow up to more than 7 meters in height before bearing a bunch of bananas weighing in at about 10 kilos. These fruits can be used ‘green’ for cooking, but are much better in both flavour and texture when they are allowed to ripen to their full-red or purplish skins.

To conclude: the Lakatan is an excellent variety for growers in humid climates.

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