Someone Told Me A Banana Plant Is A Herb. Is This True?


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Kath Senior Profile
Kath Senior answered
Yes, technically it is true, a banana plant is a herb rather than a tree. It is actually the world's largest herb and is related to the lily. The banana plant has now wood fibres and it grows from an underground stem, a rhizome.

New shoots grow up from this rhizome and form new banana plants. These only live for one year then they die back after producing one crop of bananas. The next year, a new banana plant grows again from the same underground shoot and the cycle continues.

Bananas are naturally seedless and the male banana flowers are sterile, they do not produce male gametes or pollen. The female flowers produce the bananas. This means that the banana plant is also unusual in that it has lost the capacity for sexual reproduction. It just reproduces vegetatively from its underground stems. This seems to be an evolutionary dead-end as the plant cannot introduce variations to enable it to adapt to different habitats. However, its popularity as a human food seems to guarantee its survival in the immediate future.
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