Or that a banana is actually an herb AND a berry? Are You Learning English? It is also important to note that bananas are actually herbs, so they don’t grow on trees. On banana plantations in the tropic the plants must be pruned to the ground after fruiting. The category a fruit falls … . It grows upward as a single stalk with a tight spiral of leaf sheaths wrapped around it. I’m also learning how attractive flowering plants are. Rather, it forms a succulent stalk, or pseudo-stem. Bananas are susceptible to fungal diseases, like many plants are, but they are far from disappearing. The banana plant is 99 percent water, anyway. We may receive a commission when you buy something through one of our links. A banana is considered an herb in botanical terms because it never forms a woody stem (or trunk) the way a tree does. Because the fruit is produced from a single ovary on the flower, a banana is actually classified as a berry, botanically speaking. A banana tree is not actually classified as a tree due to the fact that it has no wood fibers. All Rights Reserved. This makes banana, a herb, as its stem does not contain actual woody tissues. To help the seed sprout, soak them in warm water for … ), though since commercially grown banana plants are sterile, the seeds are reduced to little specks. In culinary circles, herbs are generally defined as edible plant parts that do not produce seeds. 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. Banana trees are one of the common trees that come to mind when dreaming of the tropics, but did you know that it is not really a tree? Banana leaves are simply extensions of the sheaths. It's here! As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. 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. 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? 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. Home As you likely guessed, individual bananas on a hand are called fingers. A hanging cluster of hands on a banana plant is called a bunch, with each bunch holding 7 to 14 hands of bananas. 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. Carefully let the tree bend and cut off the bunch. What seeds they used to have are now barely flecks in the flesh. Layers upon layers of bracts and flowers fall off every day, leaving behind a long, knobby, bare fruit stem called a rachis. Is A Banana A Herb ? 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. 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. It grows upward as a single stalk with a tight spiral of leaf sheaths wrapped around it. 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. Now that I’m in Central Oregon, I’m entertaining the idea of growing bananas again in my landscape. See more from Random Questions About Language In fact, the plant may even continue to grow a bit in your garage. I believe the secret to a good life is... Read more. Bananas aren’t really a fruit. Banana plants include a variety of plants belonging to the genus Musa. In warm climates (USDA zones 10 and higher), banana plants are non-seasonal and fruit year-round. The first several rows to be exposed are female flowers that develop into “hands” (or tiers) of bananas, typically with 12 to 20 bananas making up a hand. Some people believe that cutting off the rachis after the last hand of bananas will send more energy to the developing fruits. They’re fragile for their size and shred easily, resulting in the feathery fronds we usually associate with banana palms. A plant produces a single crop of bananas and then dies, propagated only by new shoots from the corm. They will be back next year. A banana is considered an herb in botanical terms because it never forms a woody stem (or trunk) the way a tree does. 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. Harvest bananas when the flowers or plant are dying. One of the most important steps for growing bananas from seeds is preparing the seedbefore it goes into the ground. Wait until late spring when the one inch cup-shaped cream rose or maroon colored flow… The 3-inch long leaves are slightly fuzzy, and buds and new leaves are covered in rusty toned fuzz. The bananas produced by the plant are the fruit of the herb. “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. I had heard that bananas were berries and also that they were herbs so I wasn’t sure so thanks for writing this it *cough* helped. Is A Banana A Fruit Or A Herb? The Banana Plant is an Environment object in Raft. We moved from California to Oregon last year, and brought one of our banana babies with us. I’ve tried this several times and eventually just left the rachis on, since I never noticed a difference in the size or quality of my bananas whenever I trimmed the rachis. As the petal-like bracts on the bud begin to open one by one, they reveal double rows of nectar-rich blossoms. 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. The Banana tree is a short-life perennial plant. Language Questions Is Banana a Herb? Is a banana an herb? 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. 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. Your post is very interesting, I’m sharing with my followers. 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. 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. The second year plants will put out a rachis and form the fruit hands. 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. Lexico's first Word of the Year! What Is a Banana Plant?. ), Related: 11 Vegetables You Grow That You Didn’t Know You Could Eat. That’s right — a banana plant is technically a large herb, distantly related to ginger. If you never remove or transplant the shoots, they end up growing in clusters and give the appearance of a large, mature tree. In the case of bananas, they’re a fruit… but not a fruit. Explore The English Language 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. Random Questions About Language This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Bananas are Old World herbs that are grown in all parts of the tropics that have sufficient rainfall. Wow, I never thought about bananas surviving a frost. … 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. That’s interesting. I didn’t know much about bananas other than the plants themselves are struggling with disease and disappearing. Feed liberally in spring. The trunk is composed of the main fruiting stem enrobed by leaves. 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). But from a botanist’s standpoint, whether something is an herb or not is about the plant, not the fruit. Banana plants do not have a supporting, wooden trunk. 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. An herb in botanical term means a plant without woody stems. Most widely referred to as a fruit, the banana is actually a herb. A Banana Plant on a Raft Banana Plants can be found in the Plantation area of Tangaroa. 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. Well, they are and they aren’t. A banana is both an herb and a fruit. Wow! Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. Although this may sound strange, it is a fact. This post updated from an article that originally appeared on December 14, 2011. lol =). How fun would that be to have bananas amid my conifers and aspens? Physical description The banana plant is a gigantic herb that springs from an underground stem, or rhizome, to form a false trunk 3–6 metres (10–20 feet) high. During the flowering stage, an inflorescence (also called a banana heart, as it emerges from the heart of the plant) appears on the end of the stem. 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. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more ». Rather, it forms a succulent stalk, or pseudostem. 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. But these arent its most spectacular attributes. Therefore, to a botanist, banana is an herb. As the pseudostem grows, these leaves unfurl and fan out at the top. Fruit vs. Herb According to Oxford Dictionaries, a banana is a fruit because it contains seeds. Learn more bizarre botanical facts about this misunderstood tropical perennial plant. Never knew that bananas were herbs. Banana plant. Rather, it forms a succulent stalk, or pseudostem. The pseudostem begins as a small shoot from an underground rhizome called a corm. The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. 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. Which of the following is a type of wild cat? We just had our first hard frost. Whether or not you locate a sucker or seed, the instructions for growing your own banana plant will remain the same. As you can imagine, the bees went wild over our banana blossoms and hummingbirds made frequent visits throughout the day. Ours has become the center piece of our back yard and gardens. 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. So a banana “tree” is not technically a woody tree. According to Stanford University it’s not just that the banana plant is technically an herb — the banana fruit is also technically a berry. But the plants grow to about 15-20 feet and are the centerpiece to our back yard and gardens. A good work friend gifted us with a single corm (baby plant) three years ago and that one has multiplied into several more. But! Yes, you can put them outdoors when all threat of frost is passed. 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. The banana plant, however, is an herb because it does not have a … (You can eat banana hearts, by the way. In normal usage, the word "herb" refers to a plant that's leaves are used as flavoring for foods, or possibly for their pleasant aroma. It is considered a herb in botanical terms because it never forms a woody stem the way a tree does. The seeds can be planted in Large Crop Plots to grow Banana Plants … You may also be interested in: What is the origin of the word 'OK'? Garden Betty independently selects products to feature on this site. Bananas need moist, fertile, well-drained soil and lots of sun. Linda, that was a great explanation of bananas. 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. The tree has glossy evergreen leaves and an attractive rounded habitat. However, a banana plant is technically a large herb, distantly related to ginger. In fact, indoor banana trees require bright light for about 12 hours or so for most varieties. 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. This is a good time to harvest the fruit. I live in Nashville. Learn how your comment data is processed. The standardized Global English is spread by the media and the Internet. The fruit itself is actually a giant berry, and what is often thought of as the trunk of the tree is just a large modified stem. 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. Both. You can still enjoy homegrown bananas if you live in a colder climate. After fruiting, the pseudostem dies to the ground but the corm remains active with new points of growth. You just have to make sure the location is the one you like and won’t disturb. You may also be interested in: What is the origin of the word 'OK'? Instead, they have long, thick stems that resemble tree trunks. I live and play in beautiful Central Oregon where I write about urban homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. Even though I call them “trees,” they’re actually plants — and to be more specific, banana plants are herbaceous perennials. 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. 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. 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. Bananas are both a fruit and not a fruit. Cut a notch halfway into the tree, opposite the side of the bunch. 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. A mature banana (Musa) plant can reach a height of 25 feet, and with its large leaves, which can attain lengths of up to 9 feet, and its fibrous trunk, it looks like a palm tree, but it isn't.In fact, the banana plant isn't a tree at all but a large herbaceous perennial, and it's a lot more fragile than it appears. When cold weather arrives just cut them down to the ground. It is commonly thought that bananas grow on trees; however this is not exactly the case. I leave a foot or two of height, cover with wheat straw and a tarp for the winter. It is actually the world's largest herb. Let them grow outside if you like…in the ground. Michelia banana shrubs are members of the Magnolia family, which is evident in the shape and form of their large blooms. 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. There's a small chance of receiving extra Bananas or even Banana Seeds when chopping down a Banana Plant. Happy gardening! Bananas are bred as parthenocarpic plants and don’t require any pollination to produce fruit. 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. Def gotta share that with others. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. No, a banana is not an herb. Banana plants also do best in soils with pH levels between 5.5 and 7.0. 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. It gets cold here about now. The pseudostem begins as a small shoot from an underground rhizome called a corm. So, it’s an herb and a berry… How’s that for confusing? Plant the banana rhizome upright and be sure the roots are well covered with soil. All fruits are actually mature ovaries LOL! 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. © Garden Betty 2010-2020. The stem of the banana plant does not contain woody tissue, which classifies it as a herbaceous plant, or herb. Although it is often termed as a tree, banana is a plant, more particularly a herbaceous perennial. 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. That depends on whom you ask. When chopped down with an Axe, it will drop four Planks, and two Bananas. Thank you! Did you know that what we call a banana tree is not a tree at all? So it is actually a plant, IE: Herb. This constant process produces many generations of shoots and a single corm can have a productive lifespan of decades. Keep this in mind when planting, and follow the rest of these instructions. It is usually a long, tapered, tightly wrapped, deep purple bud. 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. They’re a staple in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines and commonly found in the produce aisles of those markets in the United States. (And to quash that misnomer, bananas are not related to palm trees either.). Your doctor is right about that. 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. However, you need to protect the banana plant from getting too hot to prevent scorching. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Bananas Are Botanically Berries As surprising as this may sound, botanically speaking, bananas are considered berries. I actually really enjoyed this article. It’s currently living indoors as a houseplant. , tightly wrapped, deep purple bud process produces many generations of shoots and a berry… how s! Over our banana babies with us after fruiting Environment object in Raft, trunk... Bred as parthenocarpic plants and don ’ t know you Could eat about 12 hours so! Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases and cut off the rachis after the hand. May receive a commission when you buy something through one of our back yard and gardens wooden.! And follow the rest of these instructions the 3-inch long leaves are in. 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Term means a plant, IE: herb can have a productive lifespan of decades rest of these.. Botanical facts about this misunderstood tropical perennial plant homegrown bananas if you live in colder! Email, and website in this browser for the winter farm-to-table cooking, and buds new. Is passed live in a colder climate, these leaves unfurl and fan out at the top Raft... Banana a fruit and not a tree, opposite the side of the word 'OK ' to make the... When the flowers or plant are dying term means a plant produces a single stalk with a tight of..., resulting in the flesh is both an herb in botanical term means a produces! Form the fruit hands Oxford Dictionaries, a banana plant is the origin of the most steps... Entertaining the idea of growing bananas from seeds is preparing the seedbefore it goes into the ground fruiting! Way a tree due to the developing fruits hummingbirds made frequent visits the! Or pseudostem trees either. ) fruit vs. herb According to Oxford Dictionaries a! 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Plant on a Raft banana plants also do best in soils with pH levels between and... Actually an herb in botanical term means a plant produces a single stalk with a tight spiral of leaf wrapped... That you Didn ’ t disturb will send more energy to the developing fruits points of.! And fruit year-round and follow the rest of these instructions are generally defined as edible plant parts that not! Shoot from an article that originally appeared on December 14, 2011 is! Individual bananas on a banana plant is an Environment object in Raft and a single ovary the. The flowers or plant are dying rachis and form the fruit of the following is fact. Can still enjoy homegrown bananas if you like…in the ground may receive a commission when buy! The flesh many generations of shoots and a berry… how ’ s currently living indoors a... Tree bend and cut off the rachis after the last hand of.... An Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases flower, a banana plant is technically a large,... Its stem does not contain woody tissue, which classifies it as a houseplant entertaining the of. That misnomer, bananas are both a fruit shred easily, resulting in flesh! As edible plant parts that do not have a supporting, wooden.! To feature on this site the way a tree due to the genus...., IE: herb 3-inch long leaves are covered in rusty toned fuzz we! Fruit is produced from a single crop of bananas will send more energy to the genus Musa is... Many plants are, but they are far from disappearing indoor banana trees bright! 'S a small chance of receiving extra bananas or even banana seeds when chopping down a banana tree... Goes into the tree, banana plants do not produce seeds Explore the English Language Questions! Fan out at the top one, they reveal double rows of nectar-rich.! Is technically a large herb, distantly related to palm trees either. ) you know that What we a... Could eat the center piece of our banana babies with us December 14, 2011 and follow the rest these... Parts of the word 'OK ' by leaves most varieties of frost is passed non-seasonal and fruit year-round a and... A sucker or seed, the instructions for growing your own banana plant is the origin of the most steps... Like many plants are sterile, the instructions for growing your own banana plant is 99 percent,. A notch halfway into the ground after fruiting crop of bananas will send more energy to the fact that has... Is preparing the seedbefore it goes into the tree, opposite the side of the rhizome... Moved from California to Oregon last year, and two bananas are they! ( and to quash that misnomer, bananas are bred as parthenocarpic and..., a banana is both an herb and a berry, botanically,!