Banana Split

Banana Split with ice cream and blueberries
Banana Split with ice cream and Blueberries. © Karen Andrews

The British Ecological Society’s magazine, The Niche, arrived through the letter box in December. The front cover referred to Bananageddon. Is the world’s favourite fruit under threat? Bananas have always seemed to be a staple diet in our family. We have probably eaten more than our fair share of the 5 billion Bananas sold in the UK every year. It is hard to imagine a future without them.

Simple Dessert

A Banana is a handy fruit to change into a quick and eye-catching dessert for children who can’t eat or don’t like much of the gluten-and dairy-rich Christmas fare. A Banana Split can easily accommodate different diets. Ice cream for one, sorbet or coconut ice cream for another. Use colourful fruit and marshmallows to decorate and no-one feels left out.

Banana Smoothies

Banana-based smoothies are another popular option. In a strange twist, my elder son has ended up working for a certain well-known smoothie company. Evidently, that’s where healthy eating can take you.


Having coped with various restricted diets for years, it is alarming to read that only one Banana variety is found in Britain today: the Cavendish. There were once thousands of varieties worldwide. Commercialisation has narrowed the genetic resources available. This leaves Bananas vulnerable to pest and diseases. The Panama Disease is a major concern. The Cavendish is no longer immune to the fungal disease. It harmed the world’s previous favourite variety: Gros Michel.

Bunch of bananas
Bananas sold in the UK are usually the Cavendish variety (Musa acuminata, Musaceae)
© Karen Andrews


I always like to look out for the Fairtrade label on Bananas when I’m shopping. Apparently, one in 3 sold in the UK is a Fairtrade Banana. A number of the major UK supermarkets only stock Fairtrade Bananas. Most Bananas sold in the UK are Cavendish Bananas from South American countries, whose populations are heavily dependent on the crop for their livelihoods.

Cavendish Bananas are sterile and depend on cloning for propagation
© Karen Andrews

As you tuck into your Banana this Christmas, spare a thought for the potential split ahead.

© Karen Andrews


Randall, Susan (2015): Healthy Breakfast Banana Split. Simple Healthy Kitchen. 29 July 2015. Last accessed 22 December 2019.

References and Further Reading

Copyright Note

Karen does not seek or receive any commercial interest or advantage from this blog. She is not promoting any business venture. She simply loves to share fascinating facts about plants. These pages illustrate her love of plants, botany, biodiversity, gardens and creative expression. There is always so much to learn about plant diversity. This blog is designed as a showcase for photography, commentary on plants and wildlife, gardens and other places visited, horticulture and related topics. Viewpoints are her own, not those of her employer.

© Karen Andrews 2018 onwards. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen Andrews and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

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