May 22, 2021, 12.46 AM

As flora endemic to Papua, the giant bananas found in West Papua's Arfak Mountains Nature Reserve between 100 to 200 meters above sea level. Their range within Papua includes the Manokwari, Kaimana, Wondama Bay, Fak-Fak, Yapen and Tambrauw Regencies.

One of the places to find these bananas is in Kwau Village, Mokwam District, Manokwari Regency. Set around copses of giant banana trees, they are about an hour's drive by car or motorcycle to the Arfak Mountains.

But tourists and professional photographers who want to stay longer can head to the Papua Lorikeet, an inn owned by local man Hans Mandacan. The establishment is built in the middle of the natural forest in Kwau Village.

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Hans' family lived near the Lorikeet inn, a tin-roofed hut with boarded walls. Several Musa ingens trees stand nearby, ignored by them for the most part.

"We usually do not eat giant bananas. We mostly set them aside for the birds," Hans said to Indonesia.go.id. "These include the 'smart birds'.”

Aside from the giant banans, the forest around Papua Lorikeet include dozens of flowers and shrubs. While the giant bananas are hard to breed since sprouts rarely appear on their tree stumps, birds eat the fruit and seeds and them throughout the Arfak Mountains.

Usually these giant bananas grow in secondary forest on the side of the road in substrate soil. This type of banana can grow in groups or separately, and are commonly associated with Lithocarpus rufovillosus, Musa arfakiana, Musa balbisina and Dodonaea viscos strains.

Known for ages

While the giant Musa ingens bananas might seems novelties for most Indonesians, they were actually collected as a specimen by horticulturists JS Womersley and NW Simmonds in December 1954 in Papua New Guinea.

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