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Posted by on Jul 26, 2016 in Tell Me Why |

Do Bananas Have Seeds?

Do Bananas Have Seeds?

If you went out into the wild and opened a banana fruit, you would probably find seeds. Some, in fact, are large and take up much of the fruit, making the flesh hard to eat. Banana plants do not actually produce seeds, but the black or brown dots in a ripe banana are the tiny beginnings of seeds which never develop.

Commercial bananas have been specially bred over the years so that they are seedless triploids (three sets of genes, instead of just two) that do not form mature seeds. If you’ve noticed little black or brown dots in the middle of the banana, you’ve discovered immature seeds that are the remnants of ovules that won’t become viable, which happens with triploids.

Instead of using seeds, commercial banana trees are reproduced by using banana pups. The banana tree forms rhizomes that form into a little tree known as a pup that can be removed and planted elsewhere.

Some bananas, depending on the species, can have quite a few seeds — even to the point that the fruit is more seeds than flesh. The seeds can be rounded or angled and average between 1/8 and 5/8 inches wide. The seeds are only used for cultivation purposes by experienced breeders and not by casual gardeners. Instead, most people who want to grow bananas harvest suckers, not seeds.

The banana tree is not a real tree. What looks like a tree trunk is actually the long leafstalks of the banana plant, which are wrapped together in a long, stiff bundle. Yellow flowers blossom on the top stalk of the banana plant. Some of these develop into bananas that hang from the stalk. A banana plant bears only one bunch of bananas in its lifetime. After the plant dies, a new banana plant sprouts from the old rootstalks.

Content for this question contributed by Michelle Howard, resident of Bryan, Texas, USA