A wild banana that could save the banana crops around the world has been put on the extinction list. The wild banana is found in Madagascar, where there are only five trees left in nature.
Scientists say the plant needs conservation, as it may be the only means to keep bananas safe for the future.
Most bananas around the globe are known as the Cavendish, and this type can easily be exposed to a plant pest.
Scientists are trying to develop new varieties that are resistant to Panama disease.
The Madagascan banana is special because it developed far away from the other types affected by the pest.
Richard Allen, senior conservation assessor at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, stated that the Madagascan banana could have high resistance to plant diseases.
“It doesn’t have Panama disease in it, so perhaps it has genetic traits against the disease,” he added.
“We don’t know until we actually do research on the banana itself, but we can’t do the research until it’s saved.”
Scientists explored the Madagascar wilderness for the banana plant but were shocked to find out that the species was near extinction.
Dr Hélène Ralimanana of the Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre expressed that the banana plant is an essential part of the country’s flora.
“It is very important to conserve the wild banana because it has large seeds which can offer an opportunity to find a gene to improve the cultivated banana,” she added.
If the wild banana is saved from extinction, scientists are planning to collect its seeds and discover its genetic make-up.