J. Njuguna, D. Gitau, M. Karuoya, W. Ndiritu, V. Ndungu
Banana (Musa spp. L.) is one of the most important food and cash crops in Kenya. It occupies about 2% of the total arable land with an annual production of over 1 million tons. Despite the importance of the crop in Kenya, the growth characteristics of most local cultivars have not been documented thus posing a big challenge for their use in commercial production. The objective of this study was to establish and document the growth characteristics of some local and exotic cultivars. To achieve this, a trial was set up at the National Horticultural Research Centre in Thika, central, Kenya in 2008 with 9 local cultivars namely ‘Sweet banana’, ‘Ngombe’, ‘Muraru’, ‘Uganda green’, ‘Nakitengwa’, ‘Khalaya’, ‘Grace’, ‘Flora’, ‘Alice’ and one exotic cultivar called ‘Grand Nain’. The parameters considered were: height, girth diameter, canopy span, number of functional leaves and suckering ability. Data were collected at an interval of one month starting from one month after planting. The results indicated no significant difference in height, girth and canopy span between cultivars 6 months after planting. However, ‘Sweet banana’ had significantly higher number of suckers (mean 2.2) compared to other cultivars. At 8 months after planting ‘Sweet banana’ was significantly taller (mean 143.0 cm), had bigger girth (mean 40.0 cm) and had more functional leaves (mean 13.6) than all other cultivars followed by ‘Grand Nain’ while ‘Muraru’ was significantly shorter (mean 68.7 cm) and had the smallest girth diameter (22.8 cm). The trend persisted at 10 months after planting with ‘Sweet banana’ still out growing other cultivars and ‘Muraru’ having the lowest values in all parameters. The number of suckers per cultivar was not significantly different. ‘Sweet banana’ consistently expressed greater vigor than other cultivars during the period the data were collected while ‘Muraru’ was the least vigorous. This could be attributed to genetic factors combined with greater adaptability of ‘Sweet banana’ to ecological conditions.
Njuguna, J., Gitau, D., Karuoya, M., Ndiritu, W. and Ndungu, V. (2011). GROWTH CHARACTERIZATION OF LOCAL AND EXOTIC TISSUE CULTURE BANANA IN THIKA, CENTRAL KENYA. Acta Hortic. 911, 391-394
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.911.45
Musa, functional leaves, yield, germplasm evaluation, growth characteristics

Acta Horticulturae