Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Is a Banana Plant a Herb, Shrub or Tree?

...
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

According to Purdue University’s Center for New Crops and Plant Products, banana plants are not trees. They are, in fact, large herbs, as they do not have a persistent or woody stem. Although a banana plant has no wooden trunk, it can reach heights of as much as 40 feet, though, making it one of the tallest herbs grown on Earth.

Structure

A banana plant does not have a wooden stem, unlike any other trees its height. The base's leaves overlap and intertwine in such a manner that a strong column known as a pseudostem, is formed, which gives support to the plant and its fruits. The leaves of a banana plant are made of leaf blades, leaf stalks and sheaths. Being strong in nature, the pseudostem can independently support the entire weight of the plant.

  • According to Purdue University’s Center for New Crops and Plant Products, banana plants are not trees.
  • Although a banana plant has no wooden trunk, it can reach heights of as much as 40 feet, though, making it one of the tallest herbs grown on Earth.

Cultivation

A banana plant flourishes well in rich, well-drained soil and should be planted in a sunny spot. The plant cannot withstand strong winds and thus must be planted near a south- or southeast-facing wall. If you are living in a flood-prone area, plant it on a raised bed, so that it does not get destroyed due to water-logging.

Fruit vs. Herb

According to Oxford Dictionaries, a banana is a fruit because it contains seeds. The banana plant, however, is an herb because it does not have a trunk, branches or woody tissues.

Herbal Qualities

According to Herb Society of America, an herb has, among other things, potential medicinal and health benefits and industrial and economic uses. Bananas have many healthful qualities, including plenty of potassium and fiber. As far as industrial uses, its fibers are used for weaving ropes, textiles and mats. The tannin of the banana peel acts as a tanning agent in leather processing.

  • A banana plant flourishes well in rich, well-drained soil and should be planted in a sunny spot.
  • According to Herb Society of America, an herb has, among other things, potential medicinal and health benefits and industrial and economic uses.

Banana Plant?

Banana plants are often erroneously called "trees," but they are not trees. Unlike trees, banana plant stalks are made up of many layers of leaves and stems that eventually die back to the ground. Being perennials means bananas have devised a storage system for winter food reserves. Many young plants can emerge from a mature banana rhizome, allowing the plant to continue indefinitely as stalks develop, flower, fruit and die. Several banana stalks can emerge simultaneously from a single rhizome, if space allows. Banana fruits develop in a range of colors, with skins in shades from green to yellow and red, covering ivory to salmon-yellow flesh. A single stalk may require 10 to 15 months to produce an enormous stem covered in flowers called an inflorescence.

  • Banana plants are often erroneously called "trees," but they are not trees.
  • Many young plants can emerge from a mature banana rhizome, allowing the plant to continue indefinitely as stalks develop, flower, fruit and die.

Related Articles

Banana Tree and Its Uses
Banana Tree and Its Uses
What Eats the Leaves & Tomatoes on Plants?
What Eats the Leaves & Tomatoes on Plants?
Growing Bananas in South Carolina
Growing Bananas in South Carolina
Facts on Liana Plants in the Rainforest
Facts on Liana Plants in the Rainforest
What Vegetables Can You Grow Hydroponically?
What Vegetables Can You Grow Hydroponically?
Banana Plant Classification
Banana Plant Classification
How to Grow Bananas Bigger
How to Grow Bananas Bigger
Palm Tree Facts for Kids
Palm Tree Facts for Kids
How to Trim a Non-Blooming Banana Tree
How to Trim a Non-Blooming Banana Tree
What Type of Fruit Is a Banana?
What Type of Fruit Is a Banana?
Uses of Banana Leaves
Uses of Banana Leaves
What's the Origin of Plantain?
What's the Origin of Plantain?
How We Classify Vegetables and Fruits
How We Classify Vegetables and Fruits
Is Capsicum a Fruit or a Vegetable?
Is Capsicum a Fruit or a Vegetable?
What Kinds of Fruit Grow in the Amazon Rainforest?
What Kinds of Fruit Grow in the Amazon Rainforest?
Plants That Look Like a Banana
Plants That Look Like a Banana
Hydroponic Fruit Trees
Hydroponic Fruit Trees
Garden Guides
×