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If you thought you couldn't grow bananas in Portland, here's some evidence to the contrary!

RITA A. LEONARD - This Brooklyn banana plant sports a coconut-sized blossom - and, above it, a crown of bananas. There are many tropical banana plants grown ornamentally in the Portland area, but you never see any of them producing fruit. We're just not tropical enough. Bananas (which are actually an herb, related to ginger) are native to Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Southern Florida. They thrive with warm temperatures and plenty of rain. Many banana plants in Portland need to be wrapped against the cool of winter, just in order to survive.

Despite all that, in the Brooklyn neighborhood there is a south-facing two-story-tall banana plant which this spring sprouted a coconut-sized blossom. The plant, at S.E. 14th and Franklin Street, is now producing a crown of small bananas. RITA A. LEONARD - Jason Motamedi, owner of this tropical banana plant in Brooklyn, is curious to see how many of the bananas its bearing this year hell be able to harvest from it. Homeowner Jason Motamedi tells THE BEE, "We must have had a warm enough winter to allow the plant to thrive. It's also shaded somewhat by the tall Chinese chestnut trees across the street, that likely helped it avoid cool breezes."

Motamedi's wife added, "We had another banana plant when we lived in Mexico, but it was not so tall, and the flower was more burgundy-colored. We obtained the shoot of this plant from a neighbor, and it's now 12 years old."

The family, which cultivates many flowers, fruits, and vegetables, is excited to watch the progress of their unusual fruiting banana plant. Research shows that the fruits will continue to grow along the stem (they arc upward) – and the family is curious to see how many bananas they may actually be able to harvest this year.


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