You may also be interested in: What is the origin of the word 'OK'? It is usually a long, tapered, tightly wrapped, deep purple bud. Banana plants include a variety of plants belonging to the genus Musa. Home This post updated from an article that originally appeared on December 14, 2011. That depends on whom you ask. The 3-inch long leaves are slightly fuzzy, and buds and new leaves are covered in rusty toned fuzz. All Rights Reserved. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Each of these shoots (pseudostems) goes on to live for only two to three years, but because the corm can survive for many years, the banana plant’s reproductive process is unique for a fruit. A banana is undoubtedly a fruit (containing the seeds of the plant), though since commercially grown banana plants are sterile, the seeds are reduced to little specks. We moved from California to Oregon last year, and brought one of our banana babies with us. I’m not much of a banana person (unless it’s cooked in rum and butter, though that combo will make anything taste divine), but I loved having banana trees around when I lived in zone 10b. Bananas need moist, fertile, well-drained soil and lots of sun. Some people believe that cutting off the rachis after the last hand of bananas will send more energy to the developing fruits. The standardized Global English is spread by the media and the Internet. I live in Nashville. So, it’s an herb and a berry… How’s that for confusing? “True berries are simple fruits stemming from one flower with one ovary and typically have several seeds.” A banana fits this definition from a botanical standpoint. People will come to visit us and get impressed with the raised garden and kiwis on trellis but their eyes always settle on the banana plants. It gets cold here about now. It’s really amazing that the plant will sprout in the spring when it gets warm and grow to about 15-20 feet and have babies. On banana plantations in the tropic the plants must be pruned to the ground after fruiting. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. As the petal-like bracts on the bud begin to open one by one, they reveal double rows of nectar-rich blossoms. An herb in botanical term means a plant without woody stems. Because the fruit is produced from a single ovary on the flower, a banana is actually classified as a berry, botanically speaking. Here Are Our Top English Tips, The Best Articles To Improve Your English Language Usage, The Most Common English Language Questions, See more from Random Questions About Language. Language Questions Bananas aren’t really a fruit. Layers upon layers of bracts and flowers fall off every day, leaving behind a long, knobby, bare fruit stem called a rachis. I didn’t know much about bananas other than the plants themselves are struggling with disease and disappearing. The banana plant, often erroneously referred to as a "tree", is a large herb, with succulent, very juicy stem (properly "pseudostem") which is a cylinder of leaf-petiole sheaths, reaching a height of 20 to 25 ft (6-7.5 m) and arising from a fleshy rhizome or corm. Although this may sound strange, it is a fact. What Is a Banana Plant?. It’s currently living indoors as a houseplant. Def gotta share that with others. It's here! Bananas are bred as parthenocarpic plants and don’t require any pollination to produce fruit. 11 Vegetables You Grow That You Didn’t Know You Could Eat, Arab slave traders who also traded bananas, Choco Banana Date Cookies (aka Breakfast in a Bite), Baked Banana Donuts with Chocolate Hazelnut Glaze, How to Propagate Lemongrass from Store-Bought Stalks, 7 Proven Tips and Tricks to Make a Christmas Tree Last Longer, Make the Best Seed Starting Mix for Dirt Cheap (It's Organic Too), Dollar Store Deals: Secrets to Scoring Cheap Seed Starting Supplies. Happy gardening! How fun would that be to have bananas amid my conifers and aspens? Banana leaves are simply extensions of the sheaths. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. I leave a foot or two of height, cover with wheat straw and a tarp for the winter. I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. A good work friend gifted us with a single corm (baby plant) three years ago and that one has multiplied into several more. The pseudostem begins as a small shoot from an underground rhizome called a corm. lol =). Plant the banana rhizome upright and be sure the roots are well covered with soil. Non-cultivated bananas are all like this, and while ornamental varieties like Musa are still edible, they’re often more work than they’re worth. ), Related: 11 Vegetables You Grow That You Didn’t Know You Could Eat. The category a fruit falls … They’re a staple in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines and commonly found in the produce aisles of those markets in the United States. One might think all these terms (bunches, hands, and fingers) were first coined by, you know, the farmers who actually grew them, but in fact, they were named by Arab slave traders who also traded bananas. Is A Banana A Herb ? Bananas are susceptible to fungal diseases, like many plants are, but they are far from disappearing. ), though since commercially grown banana plants are sterile, the seeds are reduced to little specks. Feed liberally in spring. But these arent its most spectacular attributes. The tree has glossy evergreen leaves and an attractive rounded habitat. We had a hand of bananas last year and this year as well (this year we had three stalks develop hands) as well; but the growing season just doesn’t last long enough for the hands to grow and ripen. You can still enjoy homegrown bananas if you live in a colder climate. There are no seeds, as modern-day cultivated bananas (like the Cavendish variety sold in stores, or the popular apple bananas and ice cream bananas grown in backyards) are sterile. To help the seed sprout, soak them in warm water for … This makes banana, a herb, as its stem does not contain actual woody tissues. Rather, it forms a succulent stalk, or pseudo-stem. It is actually the world's largest herb. Or that a banana is actually an herb AND a berry? Learn more bizarre botanical facts about this misunderstood tropical perennial plant. That’s interesting. Carefully let the tree bend and cut off the bunch. Although it is often termed as a tree, banana is a plant, more particularly a herbaceous perennial. The second year plants will put out a rachis and form the fruit hands. However, you need to protect the banana plant from getting too hot to prevent scorching. While most people think of basil, parsley, or rosemary when they think of herbs, it’s easier to see how a banana can be an herb if we look at more “exotic” herbs like lemongrass, horseradish, and wasabi. Banana plants also do best in soils with pH levels between 5.5 and 7.0. Over the course of a year, the stalk gradually pushes its way out from the center of the pseudostem and terminates in a large, flowering, fruit-bearing bud called an inflorescence. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more ». . They will reliably survive winter outdoors in the Coastal and Tropical South (USDA 9-11); in the Lower South (USDA 8), spread a generous layer of mulch around the plant's base in fall to insulate the corm. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. So it is actually a plant, IE: Herb. The banana plant, however, is an herb because it does not have a … We may receive a commission when you buy something through one of our links. Bananas are Old World herbs that are grown in all parts of the tropics that have sufficient rainfall. I was eating a banana and when I read the bit about the fruit being produced from an ovary… I’m just not going to eat it anymore. When cold weather arrives just cut them down to the ground. After fruiting, the pseudostem dies to the ground but the corm remains active with new points of growth. Wow! In warm climates (USDA zones 10 and higher), banana plants are non-seasonal and fruit year-round. In fact, indoor banana trees require bright light for about 12 hours or so for most varieties. Are You Learning English? The banana plant is 99 percent water, anyway. You just have to make sure the location is the one you like and won’t disturb. © Garden Betty 2010-2020. It is also important to note that bananas are actually herbs, so they don’t grow on trees. Never knew that bananas were herbs. Lexico's first Word of the Year! Well, they are and they aren’t. It grows upward as a single stalk with a tight spiral of leaf sheaths wrapped around it. A banana (the yellow thing you peel and eat) is undoubtedly a fruit (containing the seeds of the plant), though since commercially grown banana plants are sterile, the seeds are reduced to little specks. There's a small chance of receiving extra Bananas or even Banana Seeds when chopping down a Banana Plant. One of the most important steps for growing bananas from seeds is preparing the seedbefore it goes into the ground. I actually really enjoyed this article. A banana (the yellow thing you peel and eat) is undoubtedly a fruit (containing the seeds of the plant: see 'Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? Whether or not you locate a sucker or seed, the instructions for growing your own banana plant will remain the same. Bananas are both a fruit and not a fruit. So a banana “tree” is not technically a woody tree. Therefore, to a botanist, banana is an herb. No, a banana is not an herb. Musa velutina (hardy to zone 7b) and Musa basjoo (hardy to zone 5, though it won’t flower when it’s that cold) are two such varieties that will send up new shoots in spring when the weather warms up again, as long as the corm is heavily mulched and protected. According to Stanford University it’s not just that the banana plant is technically an herb — the banana fruit is also technically a berry. Michelia banana shrubs are members of the Magnolia family, which is evident in the shape and form of their large blooms. The bananas produced by the plant are the fruit of the herb. Bananas Are Botanically Berries As surprising as this may sound, botanically speaking, bananas are considered berries. That’s right — a banana plant is technically a large herb, distantly related to ginger. But from a botanist’s standpoint, whether something is an herb or not is about the plant, not the fruit. Let them grow outside if you like…in the ground. Both. A few of them even grew over my hammocks and infused such a balmy and tropical feel to the setting, it was easy to forget that we lived in the city with foghorns blowing from the Port of Los Angeles every day. I’m also learning how attractive flowering plants are. Harvest bananas when the flowers or plant are dying. Yes, you can put them outdoors when all threat of frost is passed. Cold-tolerant varieties of bananas (I know, that sounds like an oxymoron for a tropical plant) can survive just above freezing, but the pseudostems die to the ground in winter. A Banana Plant on a Raft Banana Plants can be found in the Plantation area of Tangaroa. I went out to the grove and cut down all my banana plants, covered them with wheat straw, followed by a tarp weighted down by the cut trunks. A banana is considered an herb in botanical terms because it never forms a woody stem (or trunk) the way a tree does. The small flower at the tip of each banana will become dry and easily rub off, or the banana plant will lose most of its leaves. However, if you’ve ever peeled the fruit (err, berry) of an ornamental pink banana plant (Musa velutina), you may have noticed the flesh was full of big black seeds. In culinary circles, herbs are generally defined as edible plant parts that do not produce seeds. The banana of commerce in North America is Musa x paradisiaca, a sterile, usually triploid (three sets of chromosomes instead of a pair), seedless hybrid. It is commonly thought that bananas grow on trees; however this is not exactly the case. If you never remove or transplant the shoots, they end up growing in clusters and give the appearance of a large, mature tree. They will be back next year. In fact, the plant may even continue to grow a bit in your garage. It is considered a herb in botanical terms because it never forms a woody stem the way a tree does. A plant produces a single crop of bananas and then dies, propagated only by new shoots from the corm. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. What seeds they used to have are now barely flecks in the flesh. Explore The English Language The pseudostem begins as a small shoot from an underground rhizome called a corm. Wow, I never thought about bananas surviving a frost. Although a banana “tree” can grow up to 20 feet tall, a banana tree isn’t a tree at all; it’s the world’s largest herb. Cut a notch halfway into the tree, opposite the side of the bunch. … The trunk is composed of the main fruiting stem enrobed by leaves. This is a good time to harvest the fruit. Your post is very interesting, I’m sharing with my followers. Wait until late spring when the one inch cup-shaped cream rose or maroon colored flow… Thank you! Even though I call them “trees,” they’re actually plants — and to be more specific, banana plants are herbaceous perennials. Banana plants are often mistaken for trees.Bananas have a false stem (called pseudostem), which is made by the lower part of the leaves.This pseudostem can grow to be two to eight meters tall. They’re one of those things in life that aren’t what they seem to be, the way tomatoes are technically fruits (not vegetables) and dandelions are herbs (not weeds). (You can eat banana hearts, by the way. If you don’t want to fuss with them in a short or cold growing season, bananas can be kept as houseplants and may even produce fruit if given ample sun and warmth. When chopped down with an Axe, it will drop four Planks, and two Bananas. It grows upward as a single stalk with a tight spiral of leaf sheaths wrapped around it. The Banana tree is a short-life perennial plant. There are hundreds of varieties of bananas in the world, but the one that makes the news a lot is the common supermarket cultivar Cavendish, which is at greatest risk of infection because of its lack of genetic biodiversity. (And to quash that misnomer, bananas are not related to palm trees either.). Random Questions About Language Banana plant. Which of the following is a type of wild cat? Keep this in mind when planting, and follow the rest of these instructions. Your doctor is right about that. Rather, it forms a succulent stalk, or pseudostem. Several shoots (or pups) emerge from the base of the old pseudostem and become new plants that also flower, fruit, die, and spur the next set of shoots. A banana is both an herb and a fruit. A banana tree is not actually classified as a tree due to the fact that it has no wood fibers. The stem of the banana plant does not contain woody tissue, which classifies it as a herbaceous plant, or herb. Banana plants do not have a supporting, wooden trunk. Botanically speaking, a plant can be called an herb if it doesn't have a woody stem and dies back to the ground every year. Learn how your comment data is processed. Linda, that was a great explanation of bananas. All fruits are actually mature ovaries LOL! But the plants grow to about 15-20 feet and are the centerpiece to our back yard and gardens. A fruit is defined in the botanical world as the part of the plant that bears the seed – therefore putting tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados, green peppers and more in the fruit category. Did you know that what we call a banana tree is not a tree at all? A hanging cluster of hands on a banana plant is called a bunch, with each bunch holding 7 to 14 hands of bananas. Most widely referred to as a fruit, the banana is actually a herb. The banana plant is called a 'banana tree' in popular use, but it's technically regarded as a herbaceous plant (or 'herb'), not a tree, because the stem does not contain true woody tissue. Among the many trees that grew in my Southern California garden, there was an abundance of bananas flourishing year-round, all in different stages of ripeness. After all the female flowers have fruited, they’re followed by rows of sterile flowers that wither and shed in succession, then rows of male flowers that also wither and shed. However, the banana plant, though it is called a banana-tree in popular usage is technically regarded as an herbaceous plant (or herb), not a tree, because the stem does not contain true woody tissue. 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