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

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