An herb in botanical term means a plant without woody stems. 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. 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. 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). Whether or not you locate a sucker or seed, the instructions for growing your own banana plant will remain the same. (And to quash that misnomer, bananas are not related to palm trees either.). A good work friend gifted us with a single corm (baby plant) three years ago and that one has multiplied into several more. 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. 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. The second year plants will put out a rachis and form the fruit hands. Although this may sound strange, it is a fact. 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. The category a fruit falls … This is a good time to harvest the fruit. No, a banana is not an herb. 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? Fruit vs. Herb According to Oxford Dictionaries, a banana is a fruit because it contains seeds. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Rather, it forms a succulent stalk, or pseudostem. It’s currently living indoors as a houseplant. Let them grow outside if you like…in the ground. Language Questions Bananas aren’t really a fruit. A Banana Plant on a Raft Banana Plants can be found in the Plantation area of Tangaroa. 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. In warm climates (USDA zones 10 and higher), banana plants are non-seasonal and fruit year-round. I actually really enjoyed this article. Home 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. The trunk is composed of the main fruiting stem enrobed by leaves. Def gotta share that with others. Bananas are Old World herbs that are grown in all parts of the tropics that have sufficient rainfall. After fruiting, the pseudostem dies to the ground but the corm remains active with new points of growth. Both. But from a botanist’s standpoint, whether something is an herb or not is about the plant, not the fruit. One of the most important steps for growing bananas from seeds is preparing the seedbefore it goes into the ground. The banana plant is 99 percent water, anyway. Explore The English Language Is A Banana A Fruit Or A Herb? Because the fruit is produced from a single ovary on the flower, a banana is actually classified as a berry, botanically speaking. The pseudostem begins as a small shoot from an underground rhizome called a corm. A banana tree is not actually classified as a tree due to the fact that it has no wood fibers. As the pseudostem grows, these leaves unfurl and fan out at the top. Michelia banana shrubs are members of the Magnolia family, which is evident in the shape and form of their large blooms. The pseudostem begins as a small shoot from an underground rhizome called a corm. They’re a staple in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines and commonly found in the produce aisles of those markets in the United States. Did you know that what we call a banana tree is not a tree at all? 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. 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. 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. ), though since commercially grown banana plants are sterile, the seeds are reduced to little specks. 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 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. Garden Betty independently selects products to feature on this site. Bananas need moist, fertile, well-drained soil and lots of sun. A banana is both an herb and a fruit. You just have to make sure the location is the one you like and won’t disturb. See more from Random Questions About Language 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. You may also be interested in: What is the origin of the word 'OK'? Wait until late spring when the one inch cup-shaped cream rose or maroon colored flow… We moved from California to Oregon last year, and brought one of our banana babies with us. A banana is considered an herb in botanical terms because it never forms a woody stem (or trunk) the way a tree does. 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. They’re fragile for their size and shred easily, resulting in the feathery fronds we usually associate with banana palms. All Rights Reserved. According to Stanford University it’s not just that the banana plant is technically an herb — the banana fruit is also technically a berry. Some people believe that cutting off the rachis after the last hand of bananas will send more energy to the developing fruits. 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? After all, 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. Well, they are and they aren’t. So a banana “tree” is not technically a woody tree. 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. Now that I’m in Central Oregon, I’m entertaining the idea of growing bananas again in my landscape. To help the seed sprout, soak them in warm water for … As you can imagine, the bees went wild over our banana blossoms and hummingbirds made frequent visits throughout the day. It is usually a long, tapered, tightly wrapped, deep purple bud. Harvest bananas when the flowers or plant are dying. The stem of the banana plant does not contain woody tissue, which classifies it as a herbaceous plant, or herb. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Your post is very interesting, I’m sharing with my followers. Yes, you can put them outdoors when all threat of frost is passed. There's a small chance of receiving extra Bananas or even Banana Seeds when chopping down a Banana Plant. 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. 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