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Banana crop wild relatives (CWR) grow in tropical to sub-tropical Asia and Pacific forest. They take advantage of forest disturbances to form patches in the forest or on the edges of cleared land. We investigate the mechanism by which seeds from banana CWRs are able to detect gaps and germinate following forest disturbance. We incubated wild collected banana CWR seeds at a range of constant and alternating temperatures that occur from the locations where they were collected. We found that Musa acuminata (from tropical Malaysia) had an almost absolute requirement for alternating temperatures, and that germination rates improved with a period of dry after-ripening. Whereas Musa balbisiana and Musa itinerans (from subtropical Northern Vietnam) did not germinate in these conditions. We report on further on-going germination field experiments of these species in the country of collection (Vietnam) where we are recording soil temperature alongside planted seed samples, and of similar experiments in tropical glasshouses ex situ (in Belgium). We discuss the challenges associated with accessing wild collected material and the implications of this research for the conservation and use of banana genetic resources.