Lyon Arboretum goes bananas with 2009 biodiversity exhibit

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: May 27, 2009

UH Mānoa‘s Lyon Arboretum announces a new exhibit, "No End To The
Banana," highlighting biodiversity and the importance of preserving cultural plants. The exhibit will run from June 5 through June 30.

The exhibit features the banana as a vehicle to discuss genetic diversity, and
examines the preservation of the plant that millions of people depend upon for food, shade, fiber, forage, and economic stability. It has played a central role in Native Hawaiian culture.

The traveling exhibit consists of displays, two short films, and banana crafts
and products from all over the world. It was designed by Biodiversity International, and has been featured at the Eden Project in Cornwall, the Royal Botanic Garden and the Edinburgh International Science Festival in Scotland, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden in Florida, Smith College, and many other sites across the U.S. This is the first time the exhibit has been on display in Hawaiʻi.

There will be an opening reception on Friday, June 5, from 4:00-8:00 p.m., featuring a demonstration using dwarf apple bananas, a tour of the exhibit, banana tasting and light pupus. Cost is $5 in advance or $8 at the door. Please call 988-0461 to make a reservation.

On Saturday, June 6, the exhibit will open to the public. Saturday activities
include a lecture by Dr. Angela Kay Kepler of Maui, "Hawaiʻi‘s Traditional Bananas: Rare Polynesian Heirlooms," which will focus on traditional Hawaiian bananas and growing bananas in Hawaiʻi. Kepler—one of the world‘s internationally recognized banana authorities, specializing in taxonomy/classification and banana husbandry—is considered one of the two foremost banana authorities in the Pacific. She is currently writing a book on Hawaiian bananas, cultural practices and protocol. A market will feature local bananas and banana products like banana shave ice. Children‘s activities will run throughout the day.

Scot Nelson, an associate specialist in disease and pest prevention in commercial crops from UH Hilo‘s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, will present a lecture, "Growing Bananas," on Saturday, June 27, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. The lecture, which focuses on the cultivation and care of bananas, will be of interest to both backyard and commercial growers.

While the exhibit is free, there is a $5 suggested donation. Schedules for all exhibit classes, workshops, and activities are available on the Lyon Arboretum Web site at