Is a banana an herb? All fruits are actually mature ovaries LOL! So a banana “tree” is not technically a woody tree. Bananas are susceptible to fungal diseases, like many plants are, but they are far from disappearing. (And to quash that misnomer, bananas are not related to palm trees either.). So it is actually a plant, IE: Herb. 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. It’s currently living indoors as a houseplant. Garden Betty independently selects products to feature on this site. An herb in botanical term means a plant without woody stems. Yes, you can put them outdoors when all threat of frost is passed. A Banana Plant on a Raft Banana Plants can be found in the Plantation area of Tangaroa. It grows upward as a single stalk with a tight spiral of leaf sheaths wrapped around it. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. You can still enjoy homegrown bananas if you live in a colder climate. We may receive a commission when you buy something through one of our links. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 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). Linda, that was a great explanation of bananas. 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. 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. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. As the pseudostem grows, these leaves unfurl and fan out at the top. 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. Michelia banana shrubs are members of the Magnolia family, which is evident in the shape and form of their large blooms. A banana tree is not actually classified as a tree due to the fact that it has no wood fibers. 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. However, a banana plant is technically a large herb, distantly related to ginger. 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. I didn’t know much about bananas other than the plants themselves are struggling with disease and disappearing. Bananas Are Botanically Berries As surprising as this may sound, botanically speaking, bananas are considered berries. … Ours has become the center piece of our back yard and gardens. 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. 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. Or that a banana is actually an herb AND a berry? Keep this in mind when planting, and follow the rest of these instructions. I’m also learning how attractive flowering plants are. © Garden Betty 2010-2020. After fruiting, the pseudostem dies to the ground but the corm remains active with new points of growth. . It is commonly thought that bananas grow on trees; however this is not exactly the case. Rather, it forms a succulent stalk, or pseudostem. 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. 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? But the plants grow to about 15-20 feet and are the centerpiece to our back yard and gardens. That’s interesting. They’re a staple in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines and commonly found in the produce aisles of those markets in the United States. 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. Now that I’m in Central Oregon, I’m entertaining the idea of growing bananas again in my landscape. Thank you! Did you know that what we call a banana tree is not a tree at all? I actually really enjoyed this article. See more from Random Questions About Language According to Stanford University it’s not just that the banana plant is technically an herb — the banana fruit is also technically a berry. Even though I call them “trees,” they’re actually plants — and to be more specific, banana plants are herbaceous perennials. In warm climates (USDA zones 10 and higher), banana plants are non-seasonal and fruit year-round. 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? We moved from California to Oregon last year, and brought one of our banana babies with us. In the case of bananas, they’re a fruit… but not a fruit. Plant the banana rhizome upright and be sure the roots are well covered with soil. Bananas are both a fruit and not a fruit. You just have to make sure the location is the one you like and won’t disturb. Your doctor is right about that. 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. 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. The standardized Global English is spread by the media and the Internet. 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. They will be back next year. 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. 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. Never knew that bananas were herbs. When cold weather arrives just cut them down to the ground. Because the fruit is produced from a single ovary on the flower, a banana is actually classified as a berry, botanically speaking. All Rights Reserved. Feed liberally in spring. Although it is often termed as a tree, banana is a plant, more particularly a herbaceous perennial. Whether or not you locate a sucker or seed, the instructions for growing your own banana plant will remain the same. The second year plants will put out a rachis and form the fruit hands. Learn more bizarre botanical facts about this misunderstood tropical perennial plant. A hanging cluster of hands on a banana plant is called a bunch, with each bunch holding 7 to 14 hands of bananas. Happy gardening! Some people believe that cutting off the rachis after the last hand of bananas will send more energy to the developing fruits. 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. Wait until late spring when the one inch cup-shaped cream rose or maroon colored flow… It is usually a long, tapered, tightly wrapped, deep purple bud. The pseudostem begins as a small shoot from an underground rhizome called a corm. Which of the following is a type of wild cat? Lexico's first Word of the Year! If you never remove or transplant the shoots, they end up growing in clusters and give the appearance of a large, mature tree. Cut a notch halfway into the tree, opposite the side of the bunch. That depends on whom you ask. It grows upward as a single stalk with a tight spiral of leaf sheaths wrapped around it. 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. The pseudostem begins as a small shoot from an underground rhizome called a corm. 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. 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. When chopped down with an Axe, it will drop four Planks, and two Bananas. What seeds they used to have are now barely flecks in the flesh. The trunk is composed of the main fruiting stem enrobed by leaves. 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. On banana plantations in the tropic the plants must be pruned to the ground after fruiting. 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. How fun would that be to have bananas amid my conifers and aspens? After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more ». Therefore, to a botanist, banana is an herb. To help the seed sprout, soak them in warm water for … 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. As you likely guessed, individual bananas on a hand are called fingers. Although this may sound strange, it is a fact. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. This post updated from an article that originally appeared on December 14, 2011. Layers upon layers of bracts and flowers fall off every day, leaving behind a long, knobby, bare fruit stem called a rachis. Banana plants also do best in soils with pH levels between 5.5 and 7.0. 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. In culinary circles, herbs are generally defined as edible plant parts that do not produce seeds. Instead, they have long, thick stems that resemble tree trunks. 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. You may also be interested in: What is the origin of the word 'OK'? They’re fragile for their size and shred easily, resulting in the feathery fronds we usually associate with banana palms. It's here! Language Questions Well, they are and they aren’t. 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. Random Questions About Language But these arent its most spectacular attributes. But! 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. Home In fact, the plant may even continue to grow a bit in your garage. 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. (You can eat banana hearts, by the way. I leave a foot or two of height, cover with wheat straw and a tarp for the winter. Are You Learning English? Banana plants include a variety of plants belonging to the genus Musa. Wow! This makes banana, a herb, as its stem does not contain actual woody tissues. However, you need to protect the banana plant from getting too hot to prevent scorching. 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. I believe the secret to a good life is... Read more. In fact, indoor banana trees require bright light for about 12 hours or so for most varieties. The banana plant, however, is an herb because it does not have a … But from a botanist’s standpoint, whether something is an herb or not is about the plant, not the fruit. Fruit vs. Herb According to Oxford Dictionaries, a banana is a fruit because it contains seeds. 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. I live in Nashville. What Is a Banana Plant?. 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 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. ), though since commercially grown banana plants are sterile, the seeds are reduced to little specks. Carefully let the tree bend and cut off the bunch. This constant process produces many generations of shoots and a single corm can have a productive lifespan of decades. A good work friend gifted us with a single corm (baby plant) three years ago and that one has multiplied into several more. 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