I Can’t Believe It’s A Banana! by Valerie Cheers Brown

The Truth About Bananas

The banana plant (Musa, Musella, and Ensete) looks like a tree but is actually just a large herbaceous perennial. The banana tree “trunk” is more properly called a pseudostem because it does not lignify or undergo secondary growth like woody plants do.

As a kid, I always wondered why or how the banana grew when there were no seeds?

As I got older, my mentor at almost age 90, before she passed mentioned the same thing to me, but Ms. Virginia asked me, Valerie, whatever you do, find out and let the world know.

Why Are There No Seeds in the Banana?

I found some amazing answers and will share with you:

When you buy a banana at the store, it doesn’t seem to contain any seeds. But if you went out into the wild and opened a banana fruit, you would probably find seeds. Some, in fact, are large and take up much of the fruit, making the flesh hard to eat. Our commercial bananas (which are, for the most part, the Cavendish variety) have been specially bred over the years so that they are seedless triploids (three sets of genes, instead of just two) that do not form mature seeds. (Anonymous)

If you’ve noticed little black dots in the middle of the banana, you’ve discovered immature seeds that won’t develop, which happens with triploids.  Instead of using seeds, commercial banana trees are reproduced by using banana pups. The banana tree forms rhizomes that form into a little tree known as a pup that can be removed and planted elsewhere. (Anonymous)

Carin Firth – The seeds have been deselected in the bananas we cultivate for food (so new plants have to be grown from other existing plants, because the tiny “seeds” in our bananas do not grow).  Wild bananas do have large seeds, but are not palatable for our modern tastes.

 To begin with, nearly 47% of bananas we consume are clones of each other. Known as the Cavendish banana, these bananas are named after William Cavendish, a Duke of Devonshire, who raised one of the first specimens in the 1840’s which became the progenitor of all the bananas we eat today.
The Cavendish rose to popularity after the previous master variety, the Gros Michel, was nearly wiped out by Panama disease devastating crops.

The Cavendish is praised for its disease resistance, large fruit, and ability to travel. The Cavendish does not produce seeds (after all, when was the last time you’ve seen a banana seed?) and new trees are grown from cuttings of roots from established trees.

Of course, a major worry these days is that another disease could wipe out the Cavendish the way the Gros Michel was. The result would be skyrocketing prices for bananas and the need to find a replacement cultivar.

Richard Hoyt, wrote in ‘Home Guides’ Are Bananas Perennial? wrote:

“The enduring perennial banana plant, which is in the variety Musa, develops from underground stems called rhizomes. The herbaceous plant, normally yet wrongly called a “tree” on account of its size – to 25 or more feet tall, has an uncommon life cycle. It develops and develops bananas in 10 to 15 months; in the wake of yielding bananas that take four to eight months to mature, the plant bites the dust and is supplanted by another plant that experiences the same life cycle. A banana rhizome can live several years.”

Fingering the world’s most popular tropical fruit

 I found the most amazing thing out about the banana and the history.  It all begins with a student who shared what he learned about the banana from one of his professsors!

This student not only did not think of the banana the same again, but it also made me a bit sad for the workers and I too, will never look at this yellow yummy substance quite the same anymore neither, which I so relish and use them as an emergency muscle spasm reliever!

It all begins with the student and here is his story:

“When I was in school, I had a teacher who was known for being a bit on the odd side. Despite the fact that he was keen, inviting, and highly cherished by the understudies, he had some interesting and illogical propensities. First and foremost, he had an exceptionally impossible to miss method for talking, including around twelve quirky expressions that he rehashed again and again.”

“A companion and I, when we got exhausted, used to sit in the back of the classroom and keep a count of how frequently he utilized each of these expressions. The teacher constantly kept a pen cut to his neckline, regardless of the possibility that he was wearing a shirt with a pocket (a practice that entertained me so much I received it myself—and keep it up right up ’til today). Furthermore, he energized us, on numerous decision exams, to write in our own answers in the edge in the event that we didn’t care for any of his.”

“Sometimes, this teacher came to class with the sticker from a banana on his shirt. The brand fluctuated, yet the position did not: it was stuck right over the spot where his pen would be, in the event that he had kept it in his pocket the way typical individuals do. We accepted it was simply one more one of his senseless propensities, yet one day, an understudy really asked him—amid class—what was with the stickers.”

He answered, seriously, “Gracious. Definitely. Indeed, at whatever point I have a banana for breakfast that has a sticker on it, I put the sticker on my shirt to help me to remember the affliction of the banana pickers in Latin America, who once in a while acquire only 50¢ for a 12-hour day of work in difficult conditions. I wear it to demonstrate my solidarity with them, as a quiet dissent for better treatment.”

“From that day on, we saw the teacher in a totally new light—and we began pondering bananas distinctively as well. As I was later to find, nothing about bananas is as it appears.”

Family Trees

On an outing to Costa Rica, which is a noteworthy exporter of bananas, he saw unending banana estates furthermore went by a plant greenery enclosure where a botanist shared some intriguing insights about banana trees.

He said, “there are in regards to 300 assortments of banana (and their nearby relative the plantain—claimed “PLANT-en,” not “arrange TAIN,” incidentally), of which just some are eatable, and a much littler part developed monetarily.”

“The kind of banana become frequently in Costa Rica is a cross breed that is bigger and sweeter than its normally happening predecessors.”

Among the other fascinating goodies we learned was that banana “trees” are not in any case trees—they’re the world’s biggest lasting herbs. The qualification is not only scholastic; the stems, which may give off an impression of being strong trunks, are basically different layers of huge leaves that could be sliced through with a consistent blade. Truth be told, the stems frequently break under the heaviness of the bananas and should be bolstered with posts.

Additionally astounding was that bananas develop topsy-turvy, apparently indicating disdain for gravity. Every plant has a blossom shoot that delivers a solitary bundle of bananas—by “pack,” I mean an arrangement of around 15 subgroups called hands, for a stupendous aggregate of around 200 banana “fingers.” On business banana ranches, every plant’s group is typically secured with an extensive plastic sack immersed with pesticides, to avoid both creepy crawlies and winged animals.

Being Fruitful and Multiplying

“Bananas additionally have an abnormal life cycle. Ordinarily, the essential explanation behind a plant to hold up under any kind of natural product, in any case, is to proliferate itself, since the organic product contains the seed. Cutting edge, business strains of banana don’t have seeds. (All things considered, they do, however, they’re little and clean, not at all like wild and regularly unappetizing assortments of bananas, which have huge and suitable seeds.) Seedless, organic product bearing plants (consider navel oranges) typically proliferate just with human help—as in transplanting cuttings—on the grounds that the plant has no common approach to recover when it bites the dust.”

“Here once more, bananas think outside the box. Every banana plant creates only one cluster of organic product over its lifetime of around a year and afterward kicks the bucket—or if nothing else appears to. Be that as it may, the stem over the ground is only a part of the plant, the supposed pseudostem. There is additionally an underground stem, called a rhizome, which creates new shoots at the base of the noticeable stem. These start developing into new, blossoming stems pretty much as the old one is biting the dust. The new plant, then, truly isn’t new in any way, and is hereditarily indistinguishable to its forerunner.”

“These quirks aside, bananas are a magnificent wellspring of potassium, also a very viable gadget for keeping scoops of frozen yogurt adjusted in a dish. Bananas have been alluded to as “the world’s most prominent natural product,” “the world’s most mainstream tropical organic product,” “America’s most prevalent (or second-or third-most famous) natural product,” and an assortment of different assignments in the upper strata of organic product fame, in light of various measurements for surveying prominence. Regardless, Americans—and a significant part of whatever remains of the world—positively devour huge amounts of bananas.”

Be that as it may, shouldn’t something be said about the story of the abused banana pickers? I’m sorry to learn it’s valid. In spite of the fact that the circumstance is preferable in a few regions over others, and has all in all enhanced to some degree since I was in school, the life of the normal banana picker is still rather grim. Obviously, if the makers paid their laborers a living compensation, bananas would turn out to be expensive to the point that few individuals would purchase them, in this way lessening interest, et cetera—a precarious issue to illuminate. As far as concerns me, I wear banana stickers pretty much as my educator did—not to publicize Dole, Chiquita, or Del Monte or on the grounds that I think it will have any substantial effect, however, to help myself to remember the genuine cost of bananas. — Joe Kissell

More Information about The Truth About Bananas…

Pretty much all that you’d ever need to think about bananas can be found at—you got it—banana.com. Particularly fascinating is their page on How to Grow Bananas, which contains points of interest on engendering, gathering, aging, et cetera.

An a great deal more nitty gritty record, brimming with vital sounding specialized terms and Latin names, can be found at the Web webpage of UCLA’s Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden. Another comparative record is at Purdue University’s Horticulture and Landscape Architecture Department.

For a calming and excruciatingly definite take a look at the banana exchange, see Banana Link, particularly their page on Human and Environmental Costs.

By chance that you need to develop your own particular bananas, and can give an appropriate (hot and moist) environment, attempt GreenhouseBusiness.com.



Bananas: An American History by Virginia Scott Jenkins is, in addition to other things, the social and social history of the banana in the United States. Exceedingly suggested reading for banana trivia buffs (there must be a few, I’m certain).



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