Experimental Banana

What are the conditions needed for plants to grow? This video follows Carl Linnaeus as he attempts to be the first person to grow the banana fruit in Europe.


Particularly suitable for Curriculum Point
Year 3 explore the requirements of plants for life and growth and how they vary from plant to plant
All years Working Scientifically

This video illustrates the POWER OF WORKING SCIENTIFICALLY (AHHH!) to find solutions to problems, and make wonderfully delicious progress. Carl was hired by the King of Sweden to grow the first European banana, and he achieved it!

Below we provide a full transcript of the video, a supporting worksheet and follow-on questions for your class

Questions to follow up with

Why don't banana trees usually produce fruit when grown in Europe?

You can actually grow a banana plant in your own home. It is very unlikely to bear fruit however, as the conditions aren't right. The banana plant needs warmth (around 26 degrees) and lots of moisture in the air.


What is the natural habitat for a banana tree?

Somewhere hot and humid! The Musa group of banana species are native to Indomalaya (extends from Afghanistan through the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia to lowland southern China, and through Indonesia as far as Java, Bali, and Borneo) and Australia.


Would a cactus from a dry desert grow well in a hot and humid country?

Plants are adapted to their environments, so moving them from one place to somewhere radically different will not be good for them. Each species will react differently, but you could generalise and say that a cactus might survive, but would be unlikely to flower like it would in its normal habitat. (Have a look at cactus flowers, they're lovely!)


What do you think will happen if the climate gets hotter, all across the world?

We might see that plants start to migrate north, and then go extinct.

If you imagine that a certain plant likes cold weather, and can only survive a maximum of 25 degrees, let's say it's native to Scotland(!). In a new, warmer climate, the plant would migrate as far up the country as possible, and then may disappear as the tip of Scotland reaches higher than 25 degrees.

On the hotter side, plants that are suited to hotter weather will be pushed to their limits, and will also migrate northwards. We might see more and more barren land where plants like cacti used to grow.


The Panther, Lion and Tiger can all be grouped together as members of the cat Family (Felidae). Can you name some members of the bear Family (Ursidae)?

Brown/Grizzly Bear, Black Bear, Polar Bear, Giant Panda, Sloth Bear