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the dominant commercial banana

From the 1820s until the 1950s, the dominant commercial banana was Gros Michel, a richer and sweeter variety than today's Cavendish banana, but today's Cavendish banana was wiped out by a soil fungus.

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the thick-skinned 'dessert'

the thick-skinned 'dessert' Gros Michel was a favorite of tropical banana producers until the 1950s, when the British shifted to a thinner skinned, less flavorful variety (Google books preview) that was resistant to the Panama disease that was impacting so many Gros Michel plantations.

the banana of choice

Back in the early 1900s, the banana of choice was Gros Michel, but a fungus called Panama disease all but wiped the banana out, in much the same way that phyloxera devastated European grape stock.

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a monoculture destroyed by a related fungus in the 1950s

Part of the problem is that cultivated bananas are a single variety — the Cavendish replaced the Gros Michel, a monoculture destroyed by a related fungus in the 1950s.

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the main variety

In the early part of the 20th century the main variety was 'Gros Michel'.

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a different variety

Up until WWII, a different variety Gros Michel was king.

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the world’s dominant banana cultivar

Until the 1950s, the world’s dominant banana cultivar was “Gros Michel” – but this banana was decimated by other strains of the Panama disease fungus, known collectively as “Race 1”.

the standard commercial banana type

Prior to 1960, the standard commercial banana type was the Gros Michel (aka “Big Mike”), a larger banana type which, by many accounts, was also tastier.

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a larger banana type which, by many accounts, was also tastier

Prior to 1960, the standard commercial banana type was the Gros Michel (aka “Big Mike”), a larger banana type which, by many accounts, was also tastier.

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the most prevalent commercial banana variety

Before 1960, the most prevalent commercial banana variety was ‘Gros Michel.’

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