Do Bananas Grow on Trees?


Do Bananas Grow On Trees
Do Bananas Grow On Trees

I had to do a bit of research to find out the answer to this question. Most of us would assume that Bananas grew on trees, after all if you look at a banana plant it looks like a tree with bunches of bananas growing near the top. But you might be surprised, as I was to find out what a banana really is.

Bananas do not grow on trees. The trunk looks like a tree but is actually a ‘false stem’ of tightly packed sheaths of leaves reaching a height of 6 meters to 7.5 meters. The banana plant is actually a herb and the fruit is technically a berry.[1]

Another mistaken view is that bananas grow on palm trees, probably because the trunk looks much like a palm. However, there is no woody material in the ‘trunk’ but is densely packed leaves, so bananas do not grow on palm trees.

Banana plant has a stem not a trunk

Could a banana plant be classified as a shrub or bush? Actually, again due to the reasons mentioned above banana plants are not a shrub or bush.

Do Bananas Grow on Trees in the Rainforest?

Although bananas like tropical conditions to grow and rain forests are ideal, they still nonetheless do not grow on trees in the rain forest.
Bananas grow as a perennial herb in the rainforest, much like a Lilly or orchid and not on trees.

So, if you thought that they are a tree fruit, then think again, and what is more interesting is that the fruit is considered a berry.

Why Is A Banana A Berry
Why Is A Banana A Berry

The reason being is that a berry has seeds and pulp which develop from the ovary of a flower. All fruit can be divided into 3 distinct layers. The skin of the fruit also known as the exocarp, which is often eaten in berries (such as in grapes) however not always (such as in bananas). The next is usually the part of the fruit we eat called the mesocarp, which in a Banana is the soft white sweet part when you peel back the skin. Lastly, we have the layer that surrounds the seed called the endocarp, which in a banana has been bred so that it is very thin so that you don’t even notice it.

Please also check our article: Are Bananas a Berry a Herb or a Fruit & Why Are Bananas Curved

If you found that interesting you might also find the answer to the question about whether a coconut is a fruit or nut in our article: Is a Coconut a Fruit or Vegetable or Nut or Seed?

However, just because a banana doesn’t grow on a tree doesn’t mean that the ‘pseudo trunk’ or ‘false stem’ is not usable.

In fact, one of the more common banana ‘trunk’ fibre products made today is cordage and rope. The natural resistance to seawater of the ‘trunk’ fibre along with its buoyancy characteristics has made it popular for use in the manufacturing of shipping cable. This ‘trunk’ fibre is also used to make durable yet strong fishing nets, mats, sheets, packaging and even clothing.[2]

Another common use for the banana ‘trunk’ fibre is in the use of banana paper, which is mostly used in art.

How Long Does it Take for a Banana to Grow on a Tree?

Technically it would take forever as Bananas don’t grow on trees but rather are considered a herb.

However, if you are wanting to know generally how long bananas take to grow then you may be interested to find out, as I was, that bananas do not grow from a seed but rather they grow from a bulb, and it will take anywhere from about 9 months to 12 months from the time of sowing a banana bulb until the banana plant is ready for harvesting the fruit.

The flower of the banana will appear in the sixth or seventh month, and they do not have a growing season but are available all year round.

Banana plants only grow one bunch of bananas at a time. However, this one bunch can be very heavy weighing up to 30 to 60 kilograms and having up to 60 bananas to 140 bananas in one cluster or bunch.[3]

Fortunately, there are many different varieties of Banana plants and fruits and some of them you can grow indoors.

Just like banana plants that are outdoors, a banana plant that is grown indoors will need well-draining rich, humus-like along with plenty of good sunlight. Growing banana plants indoors is easy but they do require bright sunlight or artificial light for around 12 hours for many of the varieties. Along with this, you will need to ensure the banana plant is protected from becoming too hot to prevent it from scorching.

Where do Bananas Grow?

Bananas are grown and harvested in every humid tropical region and make up the largest fruiting crop of the world[4] with watermelon the second-largest fruiting crop in the world.

The production worldwide is conservatively estimated at 115.74 million tons, whereby India produces 30.5 million tonnes and China 11.2 million tonnes.

The Philippines will produce around 6.1 million tons per year.

Around 150 or more countries worldwide grow bananas.

Conclusions:

Bananas do not grow on trees but rather are considered a plant and is classified as a perennial herb. The trunk is actually a ‘false trunk’ that is comprised of tightly packed leaves and the fruit is technically a berry.

References:

Juan Paul

We are Juan & Raquel, the guys behind Fruit Information. We've been interested in fruit over the last few decades and have been busy with improving our knowledge of the different varieties. I, Juan, have been almost a fruitarian for over a decade and almost solely living on fruits as my main dietary intake. My wife Raquel has worked on a fruit farm and also worked in a nursery and seedlings shop. She is a very experienced and knowledgable farmer. We have recently undertaken a new Dragon Fruit farm with friends.

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