Are there any Gros Michel bananas left?

In this article we will answer the question, “Are there any Gros Michel bananas left”? and will discuss how to find them.

Are there any Gros Michel bananas left?

Yes, there are few Gros Michel bananas left.

The species became extinct in the 1960s due to an invasive and incurable fungus that decimated most Gros Michel plantations across the world. That helps to explain why the Cavendish — the blender banana we presently eat — became popular.

What is gros michel banana?

Gros Michel, often known as “Big Mike,” is a banana export cultivar that was widely farmed until the 1950s. The Gros Michel’s physical characteristics make it a great export product; its thick peel makes it resistant to bruising during transportation, and the dense bunches it grows in make it simple to ship.

Gros Michel is a triploid cultivar of Musa acuminata that belongs to the AAA group of wild bananas.

Musa acuminata (AAA Group) is its formal name.

Cultivation history

Nicolas Baudin, a French naturalist, brought a few corms of Gros Michel banana from Southeast Asia and planted them in a botanical park in Martinique, in the Caribbean. Baudin’s fruit was transported from Martinique to Jamaica by French botanist Jean François Pouyat in 1835.  Bananas produced in large farms in Honduras, Costa Rica, and other Central American countries were known as Gros Michel bananas.

Although Panama disease, wilt caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense wiped off huge areas of Gros Michel plantations in Central America in the 1950s, the variety is still produced on non-infected soil across the region.

By the 1960s, Gros Michel banana exporters were unable to continue exporting such a sensitive cultivar, therefore, they began producing resistant Cavendish subgroup varieties.

Where can you get a Gros Michel banana?

Another Fusarium strain, Tropical Race 1 (TR1), attacked the Gros Michel banana, the most popular export banana at the time, in the mid-twentieth century. TR1 spread swiftly around the world, and by the 1960s, banana producers had conceded defeat and converted to the Cavendish banana (a half-sibling of the Gros Michel, as both share one parent).

Are there any more Gros Michel bananas? The Gros Michel is still produced in a few nations today, although under different names: Thihmwe in Myanmar, Johnson in Cuba, and Pisang Ambon in Malaysia. It is commercially produced as Bluefields in Hawai’i.

Due to a fungus that destroyed the cultivar in the 1950s, Gros Michel bananas are now nearly extinct. The Gros Michel taste is a popular artificial banana extract flavor. Although the Cavendish is still the largest sweet banana cultivar available for purchase, there are a variety of lesser varieties to consider.

Gros Michel is still cultivated in Southeast Asia, where the deadly ‘Panama Disease’ hasn’t taken root, although it’s uncommon in North America. Seed pods with a secret. A banana is the edible seed pod that emerges from a banana plant’s bloom.

This exact situation occurred in the late 1950s with the Gros Michel dessert banana variety, which had previously dominated the commercial banana industry across the world. The Gros Michel, which was richer and sweeter than the current Cavendish, succumbed to an invading soil fungus that caused Panama disease, a kind of Fusarium wilt.

Ways to find Gros-Michel in your vicinity

The Gros Michel banana, oh, the mysterious Gros Michel banana. Creamier, sweeter, and more flavorful than the ubiquitous Cavendish that dominates our supermarket fruit displays.

Gros Michel bananas are difficult to come by in North America since they can no longer be economically grown owing to a fungal infection known as Panama disease.

There are four alternatives available to you:

·         Request some plants from someone cultivating a few plants on a small-scale farm or garden in Florida, Southern California, or Hawaii.

·         Look for them on a luxury restaurant’s menu or call a well-connected fruit and vegetable dealer.

·         In 2010, they were on the menu at the French Laundry and featured in desserts such as Peanut Butter Bavarois with Gros Michel Banana.

·         Grow your Own-You might be able to find someone who will send you a certified Gros Michel plant. They’re available on Amazon or eBay…? However, I’m not sure if this is true. Banana Plant Gros Michel – Rare Variety

·         Travel to locations in Central and South America, such as Ecuador, rural Africa, such as the Congo, portions of Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, and sections of the Pacific and Caribbean islands, where Gros Michels are still being grown on a medium scale.

Make sure you know what the locals call the Gros Michel wherever you go. These are some names:

·         Colombia: Banano, Guineo, Habano

·         Hawaii: Bluefields

·         Indonesia/Malaysia: Pisang Ambon Putih, Pisang Ambon, Pisang Embun

·         Myanmar: Thihmwe

·         Philippines: Ambon

·         Papua New Guinea: Avabakor, Disu

·         Samoa: Fa‘i Fia Palagi

·         Latin America: Banano, Guineo Giganet, Platano Roatan

·         Sri Lanka: Anamala

·         Thailand: Kluai hom Dok Mai, Kluai Hom Thong

·         Vietnam: Chuoi Tieu Cao

Other FAQs about Banana that you may be interested in.

How long are bananas good for?

Can bananas make you sick?

Are organic bananas better?


In this article, we answered the question, “Are there any Gros Michel bananas left”? and discussed how to find them.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.