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Yes, banana plants are big herbs, bananas actually berries

“Banana trees are not actually trees,” says a graphic shared on Facebook in Kenya and South Africa. 

“There’s no wood in them, they are giant herbs and banana is actually its berry.”

Is this true?


Banana tree a ‘large herbaceous plant’

The banana is the fruit of a plant of the genus Musa (family Musaceae). 

Stephen Boatwright, associate professor in the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at South Africa’s University of the Western Cape, told Africa Check that the banana plant “is indeed not a true tree, but a large herbaceous plant”. 

The plant can grow up to 15 metres in height.

Bananas are berries – and strawberries aren’t

But is the banana fruit a berry? Boatwright said the banana fruit was “botanically classified as a berry”.

In botany, a fruit is the ripened ovary – together with seeds – of a flowering plant. 

The fruit of the banana plant is produced from a single ovary and contains several seeds, which, botanically speaking, makes it a berry. This group includes other fruits such as grapes, tomatoes, avocados and pomegranates

But some fruits commonly known as berries, such as raspberries and strawberries, are not actually berries. They are known as “aggregate” fruit, as they grow from a single flower with more than one ovary.

Which category a fruit falls into depends on which parts of the flower or ovary produces the skin, flesh and seeds. Other subcategories of fruit include citrus, stone fruit or drupe (peaches, apricots), and pome (apples, pears). 

Yes, banana plants aren’t trees, they’re just big herbs – large herbaceous plants. And the banana fruit is in fact a berry.

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