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the mean heat of the year exceeds ishment, once or twice a year, by 75 deg. of Fahrenheit, the banana is digging round the roots. A spot of one of the most important and inter- a little more than a thousand square esting objects for the cultivation of feet will contain from thirty to forty man. All hot countries appear e- banana plants. A cluster of banaqually to favor the growth of its fruit; nas, produced on a single plant, ofand it has even been cultivated in ten contains from one hundred and Cuba, in situations where the ther- sixty to one hundred and eighty mometer descends to 45 deg. of Fah- fruits, and weighs from seventy to renheit.
eighty pounds. But reckoning the The tree which bears this useful weight of a cluster only at forty fruit is of considerable size : it rises pounds, such a plantation would prowith an herbaceous stalk, about five duce more than four thousand pounds or six inches in diameter at the sur- of nutritive substance. M. Humboldt face of the ground, but tapering up- calculates that as thirty-three pounds wards to the height of fifteen or twen- of wheat and ninety-nine pounds of ty feet. The leaves are in a cluster potatoes require the same space as at the top; they are very large, be- that in which four thousand pounds ing about six feet long and two feet of bananas are grown, the produce broad: the middle rib is strong, but of bananas is consequently to that the rest of the leaf is tender, and apt of wheat as 133:1, and to that of poto be torn by the wind. The leaves tatoes as 44: 1. grow with great rapidity after the The facility with which the banastalk has attained its proper height. na can be cultivated has doubtless The spike of flowers rises from the contributed to arrest the progress of centre of the leaves to the height of improvement in tropical regions.about four fect. At first the flowers in the new continent civilization first are inclosed in a sheath, but, as they commenced on the mountains, in a come to maturity, that drops off.— soil of inferior fertility. Necessity The fruit is about an inch in diame- awakens industry, and industry calls ter, eight or nine inches long, and forth the intellectual powers of the bent a little on one side. As it ripens human race. When these are deit turns yellow; and when ripe, it is veloped, man does not sit in a cabin, filled with a pulp of a luscious sweet gathering the fruits of his little patch taste.
of bananas, asking no greater luxuThe banana is not known in an ries, and proposing no higher ends uncultivated state. The wildest of life than to eat and to sleep. He tribes of South America, who depend subdues to his use all the treasures upon this fruit for their subsistance, of the earth by his labor and his propagate the plant by suckers.- skill; and he carries his industry forEight or nine months after the suck- ward to its ntmost limits, by the coner has been planted, the banana be- sideration that he has active duties gins to form its clusters; and the fruit to perform. The idleness of the poor may be collected in the tenth and e- Indian keeps him, where he has been leventh months. When the stalk is for ages, little elevated above the incut, the fruit of which has ripened, a ferior animals ;--the industry of the sprout is put forth, which again bears European, under his colder skies, fruit in three months. The whole and with a less fertile soil, has surlabor of cultivation which is requir- rounded him with all the blessings ed for a plantation of bananas is to of society-its comforts, its affeccut the stalks laden with ripe fruit, tions, its virtues, and its intellectual and to give the plants a slight nour-/riches.