This was a new as well as a big question for me. Is Banana a Fruit or a Herb? I was asked this recently and as if that wasn’t enough, sometime last week as I was going through my emails, I came across a question from Quora – ”Why are Banana trees classified as Herbs?” And for a second, I thought of why anyone would ask such questions that they might have probably been told the answer right from elementary school.
That’s where the light bulb came on, most people actually do not know what a herb actually is. I’ve written an extensive post on “What is a Herb?” Having known the reason why I was asked to answer these questions I decided to answer them here on my blog.
Is Banana a Fruit or a Herb?
To be honest with you all, I’m not a banana person. I seldom eat bananas and that’s a bit funny because I’m someone who travels to the south southern part of Nigeria from the south-western part of Nigeria and more often than not I always see these women that hawk the bananas and groundnuts on the road side. Passengers in the bus are telling the driver to slow down so they could buy some bananas and groundnuts for themselves, family members and of course friends. I’m on one side with my smart phone and earphones plugged to my ear.
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I had this phobia-like thing for bananas when I ate them few years back and literally started vomiting few hours later, ever since, whenever I see bananas, I turn to the other direction.
OMG! I totally forgot you’ve been waiting to know if bananas were fruits or herbs. OK! that’s enough concerning my phobia for bananas.
A true fruit develops from the ovary at the base of a flower and contains the seeds of its plant. Bananas also develop from the ovaries of flowers, but where are their seeds? I’ve eaten bananas and I’m pretty sure you’ve eaten a whole lot of them too but have you ever found any seeds?
I did some research and discovered that wild bananas have obvious, black seeds. This implies that bananas are fruits. So, now that we’re sure a banana is a fruit, is it a herb?
A herb is a plant whose stem does not contain any woody tissue. Banana “trees” are therefore not trees. They are herbaceous plants and should perhaps be called banana herbs.
My answer to whether or not a banana is a fruit or a herb is… BOTH. Yes! Bananas can be classified as a fruit and also a herb. 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, but if you look closely, I bet you should be able to see them.
Why are Banana Trees Classified as Herbs?
Where I come from Banana trees are in abundance. Now here is an amazing fact you didn’t know, even though we call them “trees,” they are actually plants — and to be more specific, banana plants are herbaceous perennials. The Banana tree is a short-life perennial plant.
However, a banana plant is technically a large herb, distantly related to ginger. It is considered a herb in botanical terms because it never forms a woody stem the way a tree does. Rather, it forms a succulent stalk, or pseudo-stem.
The pseudo-stem begins as a small shoot from an underground rhizome called a corm. It grows upward as a single stalk with a tight spiral of leaf sheaths wrapped around it. Banana leaves are simply extensions of the sheaths.
When grown in warm climates, banana plants are non-seasonal and fruit year-round. 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.
Ultimately, I hope with these few points of mine I have been able to do justice to both questions? A banana can be classified as both a Fruit and a Herb while Banana trees which actually is a plant is classified as a Herb because it never forms a woody stem the way a tree does.
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