There is no one story about who used the word “banana” for the first time. The plant at first glance is very similar to a tree. Many people call it a banana palm, but in fact it is grass that has strong roots and the same powerful but short stem. Above the ground, no more than 20 leaves of the plant are visible. Banana is the second largest grass in the world (after bamboo). Ripe fruits are called berry.
The roots of this grass are so powerful and large that they can grow more than 6 meters from the base of the root. Inland can reach 1.7 meters. The trunk of the plant, which is called false, can reach a height of 13 meters, and in diameter - 40 cm.
Banana leaves are very dense and long. Their dimensions are amazing, since the length can be more than 2.5 meters, and the width - 1 meter. Mostly green leaves, but blotches of burgundy or purple are possible. When growing up, the grass throws off the old, weak leaves, and inside, new, young ones are formed. If the banana grows in favorable climatic conditions, the leaves are replaced every 7 days.
How do bananas grow?
They actively grow from 7 to 10 months. After which the growth practically stops and the grass begins to bloom. During flowering from the stem, a long flower sprout actively sprouts, similar to a complex inflorescence, from which future berries are formed. At first it has a green or purple hue. On the very inflorescence are flowers of banana. The largest - female, the smallest - male.
The type of ripe fruit depends on the variety and variety of the plant. It can have the shape of both a triangle and a cylinder, and the length is from 4 to 42 cm. Most of the inhabitants of the planet are accustomed to yellow bananas. But there are berries and red, green or silver shade. On one small inflorescence up to 75 kg of fruits (more than 250 bananas) can ripen at one time. Seeds can be removed only from wild plants. After the berries have ripened and cut, the false stem dies off, and a new one begins to grow in its place.
How to harvest
Large mature clusters are put in special cellophane bags so that no birds or animals can damage them. The final maturation occurs over the next 11 weeks. At this time, the berries will increase significantly in volume, but will not yet acquire the desired yellow color, which the consumer sees. At least two workers take part in the harvest. One tilts the trunk and cuts it, and the second must catch it in time to avoid damage to the crop. Bananas collected and packaged in cellophane are hung on the hooks in the room, where they will undergo washing, disinfection and packaging procedures.
What are bananas growing on?
As already mentioned, a banana is grass. Because of its powerful stem and the fact that it is a tall plant, it is often called a banana palm, and even the ancient Greeks considered it a tasty fruit tree. In fact, there is a plant that has a similarity with a banana palm. It is believed that it belongs to the plants of the genus pawpot. These palm trees grow on the same latitudes as bananas. The fruits of them are also similar. But a real banana is grass, not a palm tree, with fruits - berries.
Where do bananas grow?
Ideal conditions for the growth and ripening of bananas in the countries that are in a tropical and subtropical climate: South Asia, Malaysia, Latin America, Japan, eastern Australia.
In Bhutan and Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and China, Bangladesh and Maldives, there are many plantations of these berries in Brazil and Thailand, which are grown for industrial purposes. Bananas are also grown in some countries of the Scandinavian Peninsula. This is possible due to the special greenhouse conditions: a certain amount of daylight hours, temperature and humidity are observed. Iceland even grows them for export.
Useful properties of bananas
Bananas are a low-fat product, but very nutritious and quickly provide the body with additional energy. The banana pulp contains cellulose, pectins, starch, proteins, various types of essential oilsthat help to gain the fruit a peculiar taste and aroma. For several decades they are used and as a source of vitamins, minerals. It contains: magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, sodium, iron, zinc. In large quantities are vitamins of group B, C, E and PP.
Depending on the size and ripeness, its caloric content can be from 80 to 250 kcal. Most banana lovers refute the theory of the rapid saturation of the body. This happens only for a short time, after which hunger may even intensify.
Due to the high content of vitamins and minerals in these berries, they are used as a treatment and prevention of many diseases:
- When removing inflammation of the oral cavity or gastrointestinal tract. It is used as a prophylactic against pressure and stroke, and is a good laxative.
- Bronchitis and diabetes can cure infusion of banana flowers. A decoction of the stems can serve as a sedative or anticonvulsant.
- Banana peel is also beneficial, which is most often used as a compresses from boils and burns.
- Using infusions of banana peel can fertilize any plants or fight aphids. To do this, you should do not only tincture, but also bury banana skins in the ground as fertilizer.
- Antioxidants that are produced by overripe fruits, help not only maintain perfect skin conditionbut also serve cancer prevention.
Applications of banana fruits and other plant parts
- cooking Eat raw or prepare desserts from them, ice cream. There are many ways to harvest these fruits: dried, pickled, canned. They can boil, fry and simmer by adding different spices, oil, salt, garlic. They make delicious wine, chips, marmalade and syrup. Some connoisseurs of this fruit are buying banana flour.
- from the leaves and stems extract a special substance that is used in the leather industry. Used in the textile industry. Fibers of plants are taken as the basis for the manufacture of ropes and ropes. Wide durable banana leaves are used in the construction of rafts and seats in them. On the territory of Sri Lanka and India, leaves are given a special form and are used as dishes for serving national dishes.
Bananas do not have a large number of contraindications, but some factors still need to be considered when using them.
In which countries do bananas grow?
Southeast Asia is considered the birthplace of bananas. It was from there that they spread throughout the tropical belt of the Earth. Scientists believe that culture came to the territory of America even before Columbus, but the method of its penetration to the mainland remains a mystery.
As a banana grows, people living in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil could see thousands of years ago. The plant is considered one of the first species on earth, which began to be cultivated in culture. First, the man ate rhizomes. After crossing wild varieties of bananas, edible fruits were obtained. After a certain time, people appreciated their taste, and they began to grow bananas on plantations.
What does a plant look like?
It turns out that a banana is not a palm tree and not a tree, as it is sometimes believed, but a giant perennial herb that has a strong rhizome. The height of the grass can reach 15 meters. The size of the leaves is also very impressive - 6 meters long and 1 meter wide. Such species grow on the islands of New Guinea. To better imagine how a banana grows, you need to know that the plant reaches such enormous sizes already ten months after planting.
To prevent excessive evaporation of moisture through the huge leaf plates, their surface has a waxy coating. The aboveground part of the plant is represented by a short stem, which is almost invisible. The leaves, tightly girding each other, form a false stem, and it rises high above the ground.
How do bananas grow? Photos presented in the article give an additional idea about it.
Plant growing conditions
Banana is a thermophilic culture. Air temperature below 16 degrees is unfavorable for its growth. At 10 degrees of heat, plant development in general can stop. In such weather conditions, banana plantations have to be heated. The optimum temperature for good growth and fruiting is from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius.
The plant is very demanding on the composition of the soil, so the choice of a place for planting bananas are responsible. Well fit floodplains, plains. Known varieties of bananas that grow at an altitude of 2000 m above sea level. During the growth period, the plants are fed with fertilizers. Bananas are planted before the rainy season, as the plant does not tolerate a prolonged drought. A prerequisite for growing is weeding. Weeds can significantly reduce the yield of fruits.
It is very important to take into account the number of plants planted on the site. Their more dense arrangement helps bananas to withstand during strong winds, in extreme conditions, the roots do not hold the plant.
In the wild, bananas can multiply by seeds that are inside the fruit. Animals that live in places where bananas grow, actively contribute to this process. The fruits of plants are the favorite food of many of them.
Cultivars of bananas do not have seeds; at the fruit cut, you can only see the remains of them in the form of black dots. Therefore, on plantations where bananas of cultivated varieties grow, the reproduction of plants occurs in a vegetative way.
After the fruit ripens, the entire above-ground part is removed or it dies off itself. Then, the plant begins to actively develop underground shoots. After a certain time, they come to the surface of the soil and give life to a new plant.
Banana plantations are renewed in 6–7 years. It is through this period that a decrease in yield is observed.
The first fruits appear on the plant ten months after it is planted. For many, the question of what grows bananas is interesting. They are located on the shoots, which can bear fruit only once. After the crop ripens, the shoots die off, and new ones appear in their place, which also begin to bear fruit.
One of the important conditions of fruiting is flowering plants and pollination. When the banana leaves stop growing, a huge pink or purple bud is formed at the top of the false stem. It gradually begins to open and expose the inflorescences arranged in rows.
Female flowers, giving fruit, are located only in the bottom row, the rest are male. If bananas bloom at night, they are pollinated by bats. In the afternoon this work is carried out by insects and birds. Banana nectar is very sweet and attracts a large number of pollinators.
The fruit of a banana is a berry covered with a leathery shell. Inside the fruit of wild varieties of bananas contains a large number of seeds, the fruits of cultivated varieties are devoid of seeds. In one compound, up to 300 fruits can be formed, the total mass of which reaches 600 kg. The plant is sometimes unable to hold such a weight, therefore, wooden or bamboo supports are installed.
By the amount of harvest in the world, bananas are in second place after oranges.
Varieties of banana varieties
Today there are about 300 cultivated varieties of plants. In addition, there are a large number of wild forms.
Fruits can have a different color, size, shape and taste. It depends on which variety the banana tree belongs to. In addition to the fruits of yellow, there are still green and red. The inhabitants of Russia and many other countries are unfamiliar with red bananas, since the pulp of their fruit is very delicate, and this variety does not tolerate transportation. To taste different varieties of bananas are also not the same.
Nutritious properties of fruits
For the poor in tropical countries, where bananas grow in abundance, the fruits of plants are cheap and nourishing food, sometimes replacing bread.
Banana fruit pulp contains 1.2% nitrogenous substances, 1.6% starch, and 22% sugar. Fruits contain a large amount of vitamins belonging to different groups, a complex of minerals. The calories of bananas are superior to potatoes, second only to dates and figs.
Are bananas good for you?
It is believed that during transportation bananas lose all useful properties and fall on the shelves as an unnecessary product. Experts proved the failure of such a statement. Bananas retain all the valuable substances in the fruit, even after “visiting” a special chamber, where they ripen.
The fruits are very useful for people experiencing great physical exertion. Many athletes include bananas in their diet. The flesh of the fruit is very easily absorbed by the body, so it is recommended to use bananas for people experiencing serious illness after surgery, if there are problems associated with the work of the heart.
Due to the high content of sucrose and carbohydrates, bananas are contraindicated for people suffering from diabetes and obesity.
What threatens banana plantations
Banana, like many other cultivated plants, is subject to various diseases. Today, scientists are particularly concerned about one of them - a fungal disease called "Panamanian disease." Very often, the plant is exposed and attacked by parasites.
The forecasts of experts are disappointing. They warn that in the near future there will be a reduction in banana plantations in all areas where they grow. Some scientists are inclined to believe that the plant may disappear altogether from the face of the earth.
Knowing how a banana grows, what dangers it threatens, breeders around the world are working on breeding new plant varieties. Those who will be able to resist diseases and pests.
For residents of northern latitudes, cognitive is not only what a “banana palm” looks like, but in what areas of its life a person can use this unique plant, how it is eaten, many other facts are interesting.
- In India, a banana was found a very unusual use. When launching a ship into water, the descent surface must be lubricated. For this purpose, fat, paraffin, grease or other substance is used. Residents of India sometimes slip smeared with bananas. To ship the average displacement came on the water, you need to take about 20 thousand fruits.
- Eating one banana is enough to provide a person with a daily rate of potassium and magnesium.
- Black dots on banana peel are completely harmless. They say that the berry is ready for use and its further storage is undesirable.
- Resist during strong winds bananas help not only the roots, but also the leaves of the plant. Under extreme conditions, the leaf plates tear along the lines of the vein, thereby reducing the wind pressure on them.
The fruits of bananas, which hit the shelves of Russian stores, have made a long voyage. And it began in one of the 100 countries in the world where culture is cultivated today.
How and where do bananas grow in nature
Bananas are a perennial herb that has thick-skinned berries with a large number of seeds. The height of this plant reaches 8 m., And the diameter of the stem is about 0.4 m.
Banana leaves grow from the stem, their length can reach 3 m., And width - 0.5 m. The root system goes down by 1.5 m., And to the sides by 4-5 m.
Science knows 40 species and 500 varieties of bananas.
Food varieties are divided into 2 groups:
- Fruits with a sweet taste are eaten raw.
- Plantan, contain a large amount of starch in their composition, are used after cooking.
The first mention of bananas, scientists find in ancient manuscripts of India and China. It is there that berry is considered a sacred fruit, capable of nourishing the mind and body. Also, some ancient buildings in India, preserved to this day, have roofs in the shape of a banana brush. Then the culture spread to Asia Minor and Africa.
Bananas grow on a tree or on a bush
If a person still wonders: "On which tree are bananas grown?". That answer will upset him. Banana does not grow on a tree or on a bush. And the habitual children's belief that it grows on palm trees is not scientifically confirmed.
A banana plant is primarily grass. An erroneous statement about banana palms appeared in the era of conquest and discovery of new lands. When Europeans visited the distant countries of Asia and Latin America, giant banana “trees” seen there did not fit into the usual idea of the appearance of the grass.
In which countries grow
Banana is one of the oldest cultivated plants. Russian scientist N. Vavilov, after many years of research, determined where bananas grow. The fruit is home to the southeastern part of Asia and the Malay Archipelago. So, in which countries is it grown the most?
Currently, bananas are grown in 107 countries: Latin America, Asia and Africa.
It is used as:
- food (fresh and dried),
- основного компонента для приготовления бананового вина и пива,
- вещества для производства волокон,
- растения для ландшафтного дизайна.
Основное использование банана – это потребление его в качестве продукта питания. So the leaders in use are African countries: Burundi, Samoa, Comoros, Ecuador. For these countries, fruit is the staple food.
In the list of crops grown banana takes the 4th place, after wheat, rice and corn. One of the reasons for such a large attention to the fruit is its caloric content. 100 g of the product contains 91 kcal, which is more than that of potatoes (100 g - 83 kcal).
The leaders in the production of bananas include: India, China, the Philippines, Brazil, Ecuador.
The main importers of banana products are the USA, Canada and Europe.
How much time the fruits grow and ripen
Bananas feel comfortable and develop at a daily temperature of 26-36 degrees, and at night - 22-28 degrees. If the air temperature dropped to 16 degrees, the plant begins to slow down its growth. And at 10 degrees completely stops its development.
The plant can withstand a three-month drought season. However, it is normal for him to have about 100 mm of rain every month.
If cooling still happens, then the banana plantations begin to heat. To warm them fumigate with smoke or flooded with water.
Flowering begins 8-10 months after planting. The inflorescence has an elongated shape of a rounded bud of purple or green color. In the center there are large females, male ones grow on the edge, and between them are barren flowers. Opening, male flowers immediately fall. Thereby exposing the upper part of the inflorescence.
Flowers are collected in brushes of 12-20 pieces. And arranged in tiers under each other, thereby forming a bunch. Pollinated uncultured bananas bats (if blooms at night) or small animals and birds (if in the morning). Cultivated varieties multiply vegetatively.
So how long does a banana grow? Some varieties can produce ripened fruits 10-12 months after planting, while others will need 17-18 months.
Fruits develop in tiers and form the so-called hand. In the process of ripening, the fruit changes color from green to yellow (or red, depending on the variety). The flesh is usually white, less cream and orange. To preserve the fruits longer, protect them from rodents and transport them to other countries, they are still cut off green. Fruit yield can be equal to 400 kg / ha.
Commercial plantations from one plant are harvested for 3-4 years, then it is completely removed and planted a new one. And in nature, a banana can grow and bear fruit for up to 100 years.
When harvesting occurs
One banana shrub can produce 2-3 times a year. Begin to pick berries when they are 75% ripe. Depending on the variety and date of planting, fruit picking begins in early January and continues until mid-November.
Do bananas grow in Russia?
Fruit can grow only in the Krasnodar region. A Japanese banana is grown in Sochi. However, its fruits do not ripen, so the summer period is too short. In winter, the stems and leaves freeze, and when it gets warmer they rise again.
You can grow bananas in greenhouses and at home. Then in the summer of transplanting them into the open ground, you can harvest a ready crop in September.
Are bananas berries or fruits?
A banana plant is a huge herb, and its fruits are berries.
By definition, scientists, berries - a juicy, soft fruit, which contains a few seeds.
And the grass is a plant with a fleshy, not lignified stem, which descends and dies after it has faded and gives seeds. However, with a banana is a little more complicated. After the first stalk dies off, a new shoot sprouts a little further from this root. For several years, the plant moves by 1-1.5 meters.
A banana is not only a tasty berry, but also a nutritious "vegetable" (for some countries of the world). Habitual to modern man fruits without seeds and grown vegetatively. For many countries, the banana is the main export crop and staple food.
Bananas are not trees and belong to the genus of perennial large herbaceous plants, which has about forty species and more than three hundred varieties. The plants have very large sheets arranged in a spiral that overlap each other, forming a false trunk about ten meters high, thanks to which the plant looks like a banana tree.
There are four types of bananas:
- Ornamental - very beautiful bloom, but have inedible fruits,
- Technical - from the stalks of plants they build rafts, make cushions for seats, in Africa they are often made into nets for fishing,
- Feed or plantain - need heat treatment: the pulp is unsweetened, hard with a high content of starch, and therefore they are made from flour. In addition, bananas of this group often go to feed animals.
- Fruit or dessert - do not need heat treatment, have juicy and sweet pulp, and therefore they can be eaten raw, dried or dried.
The native land of bananas is the tropical latitudes of Asia and Africa, as well as the islands of the Pacific Ocean. The extreme northern point where bananas grow is the Japanese island of Ryukyu.
Although these plants are inhabitants of tropical latitudes, they do not grow in an area where the drought lasts more than three months, and in order for them to give a good harvest, the monthly rainfall should exceed 100 mm.
Grow bananas prefer in acidic, mineral-rich ground. Especially important is the presence in the land of potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen: this allows annually to collect about 400 centners of fruit per hectare. The optimal temperature indicators for plant growth during the day range from 25 to 36 ° C, at night - from 21 to 27 ° C. If the air temperature where bananas grow is low and is 16 ° C, the growth rate slows down and stops at 10 ° C. True, some types of bananas, such as Rajapuri, can withstand temperatures around zero.
Plants in the mountains feel good. Usually they can be seen at an altitude of about 900 meters above the ocean surface. In some latitudes, they are even higher: the maximum height where bananas grow is recorded in New Guinea and is about 2 thousand km above sea level. m
The plant has numerous powerful roots, extending to a depth of one and a half meters, to the side - up to five. From the roots comes a short, non-protruding stem, with six to twenty leaves attached to it. The parts of the leaves adjacent to the stem overlap the bases and form a semblance of a trunk from two to twelve meters high, together with the bamboo, being the tallest grasses of the planet.
Since bananas are grass, their stem never lignifies, and the part above the earth’s surface dies after ripening. Speaking of banana as a grass, one can observe an unusual effect: after the main stem has died, its place is immediately occupied by the largest of the numerous shoots located at the root.
The leaves of bananas are very large, soft, can be both oblong and oval in shape, arranged in a spiral so that their bases are folded into a dense multi-layered tube, forming a false stem. Once a week, one young leaf appears and grows inside the bundle, at the same time the old, external one begins to die off, and then it falls off.
The plant begins to bloom eight to ten months after its appearance on the surface. Before a banana plant blooms, a peduncle appears on the main stem, which penetrates into the false stem, passes through it up, and comes out.
The inflorescence resembles an elongated shape of a rounded bud of green or purple color, at the base of which there are large sizes of females, at the edges are small male ones, and between them are medium sized bisexual fruitless flowers with three petals. When the male flowers open, they almost immediately fall off, with the result that the upper part of the inflorescence turns out to be naked.
Flowers are collected in a brush in the amount of from 12 to 20 pieces, and arranged one above the other in layers, each of which is covered with thick wax leaves on top. Flowers of fruit varieties are white, while the leaves that cover them are dark red on the inside, and purple on the outside.
Wild-growing bananas pollinate small animals or birds (if the variety blooms in the morning), or bats (if at night), while cultivated plants reproduce vegetatively.
Fruits are formed only in female colors. As they grow, each layer more and more begins to resemble a hand with a huge number of fingers, which is a berry covered with thick skin (fruits do not grow on herbs).
Depending on the variety of bananas, berries can vary widely. Basically, they are characterized by a straight or curved oblong shape. The length of the berries ranges from three to forty centimeters, diameter - from two to eight. The peel of a banana is usually yellow, but is often found green, red, silver colors.
The flesh of the berries is white, yellow, cream or orange. At the initial stage, it is a sticky and hard mass, which eventually turns into a juicy and soft. In fruit varieties, the seeds in the berry are almost always absent, so they multiply through the roots. If people were not engaged in their breeding, they could hardly have survived for a long time and populated the neighborhood.
But in plants that grow in the wild, the pulp is filled with a huge amount of seeds (in some varieties their number can reach two hundred). Their length varies from 3 to 16 mm, therefore the pulp, inside such a fruit is very small, which is one of the reasons why the banana is wild inedible.
Thus, on one layer there can be about three hundred berries, the total mass of which is about sixty kilograms. As soon as the fruits are fastened, the growth of all of them is directed downwards, but then several layers unfold and begin to grow vertically upwards.
On the ripening of berries usually takes from 10 to 15 months, while the fruit bananas give a rich harvest of five to six years, while wild plants, actively fruit more than twenty-five.
Since ripe berries are very easily damaged and deteriorate quickly, they are usually cut off green when they ripen by only three-quarters (it is easier to transport them). Ripening berries on the way or on arrival at the place, often - at home with customers.
After the ripening of berries, the main stem and leaves of the plant die off, and they are replaced by a new process located nearby, which turns into a stem and releases leaves.
The benefits of bananas are seen long ago. They are a low-fat, but very nutritious product, since it is characterized by an increased amount of carbohydrates. So, in one hundred grams of pulp contains:
- 23 grams of carbohydrates
- 1.1 g - proteins
- 89 calories.
For this reason, the berries are advised to use after increased physical or mental stress: being high-energy berries, they significantly increase blood sugar levels.
The benefits of bananas are also in the fact that they contain a lot of micro and macro elements, primarily magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron. A lot of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins in a banana also play a significant role (above all, these are vitamins A, B, C, E, PP).
Doctors often advise people with a diseased liver, kidneys, as well as with hypertension, anemia, heartburn, and constipation to add these berries to their diet. Berries have antiseptic and astringent properties, so they are advised for ulcers of the stomach and intestines (though not during exacerbations).
Doctors advise to keep from the berry with increased blood clotting, coronary disease, thrombophlebitis: the berry helps to remove fluid from the body, which leads to thickening of the blood, resulting in clogged blood vessels, and a blood clot. Also, bananas are not recommended for people who have recently had a heart attack or stroke.
Banana plant at home
Since the banana plant is a resident of tropical latitudes, to breed it at home is extremely difficult. The main reasons why it is difficult to grow a banana is the need for an optimal combination of temperature, humidity, lighting and saturated with the necessary minerals for plant growth.
At home, a banana plant can be grown by planting a seed, or you can buy an already germinated specimen. It should be borne in mind that a variety will grow from seeds, the fruits of which are inedible (seeds of fruit crops are not sold, since these plants almost do not have them, therefore their reproduction occurs vegetatively). The process of seed germination at home - the process is quite long and seedlings will have to wait at best for two months. But immediately after it appears above the surface, active growth begins.
If there is a desire to grow bananas of fruit variety at home, then it is better to buy an already germinated plant. For their cultivation at home, the breeders produced varieties of bananas, less demanding to the growing conditions, more resistant to diseases and relatively low, up to one and a half meters in height. With appropriate care you can achieve flowering plants and the appearance of edible fruits in a regular apartment.
If you really do not want to mess around, and you want to have such a plant at home, you can buy a banana tree Annona three-bladed or Azimin, which got its name due to fruits resembling the shape of bananas. Paw pawns are great for breeding at home and, despite the fact that in nature reaches twelve meters, bonsai can be made from a plant.
Bananas in the world are consumed almost daily, but few people know that it is considered to be the subtropical regions of Asia, in particular, China and India, as the birthplace of fruits. In these latitudes, fruit had a special significance - they were considered sacred, capable of returning energy to a person and enriching the mind. In addition, in some dwellings during the construction they erected roofs that had the shape of this fruit. Over time, the popularity of the culture spread further, with the result that bananas became known throughout Asia Minor. As time passed, fruit began to be cultivated in African countries located in the east and west of the continent.
Later the plant was imported to South and Central Africa, as well as to the Canary Islands. Among the latter, cultivation of crops began to be engaged in Panama and Ecuador, but these countries are the largest suppliers of fruit to Europe, therefore their fruits are everywhere present on domestic and foreign fruit and vegetable counters.
In fact, a banana is a perennial herbaceous tropical crop, on which thick-skinned berries (bananas) are formed, having seed material in their pulp. Therefore, the statement that exotic fruits grow on a palm tree or on a tree is not quite true, because from a botanical point of view, this plant is grass. Of course, this is absolutely not the lawn grass to which we are all accustomed, since the height of an adult culture can reach from 5 to 15 meters.
The formation of foliage in bananas occurs from the stem, some sheets can grow up to a three-meter mark with a width of half a meter. The green mass of the culture acts as a photosynthetic organ, which is a folded cylinder in the initial phase of growth.
The roots are recessed into the soil by about a meter and a half. In addition, the root system grows to the sides by 3-5 meters in search of vital moisture. The rhizome during the course of its development and growth forms a certain number of nodes, from which it is possible to obtain a new plant, resorting to the division procedure followed by transplantation. As for the pseudostem, which many people call the banana stalk, but it still is not. This part is formed from the foliage of the culture, it is quite dense and filled with moisture, as the foliage grows, it begins to grow in size and is disentangled. The pseudo-stem development stops after all the leaves bloom.
Flowering in any variety is the same in its structure flowers, which consist of several petals and sepal. The only difference between the flowers may be their color. After flowering on the crops, the formation of ovaries, which include 2-3 hundreds of small fruits. Such clusters consist of a large number of brushes with fruits, which are popularly called banana bunches.
The optimum climatic conditions for the growth and development of a tropical culture is the air temperature during daylight hours from + 25 ° C to + 36 ° C, at night the temperature should be in the range from + 23 ° C to + 28 ° C. When it decreases to + 15 ° С, the culture gradually stops its development, and if the thermometer drops to + 10 ° С, then the banana will completely stop growing. Therefore, with a cold snap, plantations with bananas are artificially heated, usually for this purpose they are flooded with water or fumigated with smoke.
However, a herbaceous plant is considered drought-resistant, so it can grow, bloom and bear fruit even with a three-month drought without damage. But for productive development, a plant needs to receive at least 100 millimeters of precipitation per month per month.
Как правило, количество цветков на каждом соцветии варьируется в пределах 12–20 штук. Лучшими естественными опылителями для тропической культуры являются летучие мыши, если растение цветет в ночное время. В течение светового дня размножению помогают небольшие животные и птицы. Окультуренные бананы размножаются вегетативным способом. Рост плодов на растении происходит в виде ярусов, которые визуально напоминают руку. In the process of reaching ripeness, the fruit changes its color from green to yellow, in some cases it is possible to find burgundy or other unusual color for a European.
The pulp of a banana is white in most cases, but sometimes it is orange or cream-colored in fruit. In order to protect the ripening crop from birds and animals, bananas are still being picked green. The yield of plantations engaged in the cultivation of fruits on an industrial scale is 400 kg / ha. The fruits of the plant have the ability to ripen, being already torn off, therefore during transportation and sale they gradually become juicy from green, and the skin gets yellow color.
Since the cultivated plants are perennial, the harvest from one plantation can be successfully harvested for at least 3 years, after which the plantings need to be updated by planting new young cultures. As a rule, one plant is capable of fruiting several times per season. Usually, bananas are picked in January and can be held until the end of November. The harvest of fruit intended for export is carefully sorted, as the fruits in Europe, Russia and America are subject to rather high requirements concerning the established standards regarding quality and appearance. Those fruits that have not been sorted, sold on the local market, but at a very low cost.
Today there are about 40 species of bananas, as well as about 500 of its varieties. Food crops can be divided into two categories:
- fruits, which can be eaten without additional heat treatment, having a sweet taste,
- plane trees - fruits that contain a lot of starch, in the light of which they will need pretreatment.
The first type of banana is used in fried, fresh or dried form. The fruit acts as a raw material for the preparation of alcoholic beverages (beer or wine). In addition, the culture is used as a component of landscape design, and substances from fruits are suitable for the manufacture of fibers. Bananas can have a cylindrical or triangular shape. The length of the ripe fruit, depending on the variety, varies within 3–40 centimeters.
In addition to the fruits themselves, the plant is no less valuable are flowers and large leaves. These parts of the herbaceous culture are also used to prepare a variety of dishes, and foliage - for food packaging. Like many cultures, bananas suffer from various diseases, including fungal ones. In addition, the plant may be subject to attacks by parasites, in light of which a serious threat of extinction may soon hang over the crop, so breeders are actively engaged in breeding new varieties that will have immunity to the fungus, as well as the innate ability to naturally resist pests.
How are they grown on plantations?
Regardless of the country of origin, all products are crops obtained from hybrid plants that have been specially bred by scientists to produce fruit. In the natural environment, a banana produces a crop of fruits that have a large amount of seeds in their pulp, and they are completely unsuitable for human consumption. The cultivated hybrid species is a sterile plant that reproduces with the help of humans.
Crops that grow on banana plantations, stand out with rapid growth, so within a week, under favorable conditions, the sheets on it can grow several meters in length. The formation of the fruit occurs almost at the top of the plant, so the collection takes place by hand or in the course of attracting special machines.
The cultivation of cultivated plants is considered to be quite laborious, since organizing a banana plantation in the jungle requires clearing more than one hectare of thickets, taking care of fruit bearing crops, preventing them from sagging under the weight of numerous crops. Even in spite of the fact that the banana tolerates drought well, in some regions irrigated plantations are being planted.
To combat pests and diseases, crops are additionally treated with pesticides. The banana flowering phase occurs 9 months after disembarking, after the pollination process, the peduncles fall off naturally, and ovaries form in their place, but only on those with female flowers.
Another way to preserve the harvest on banana plantations is to shelter young ovaries with fruit bags made of polyethylene, which helps protect the fruit from various pests. Usually this period takes about 10-11 weeks. At the end of the fruiting and harvesting phase, the entire aboveground part of the tropical perennial culture dies off and dries out. The following season, the plant resumes its growth and passes the full cycle of development and fruiting anew.
On industrial plantations, rejuvenation of plantations is performed every 10 years, and hybrid plants are propagated for subsequent planting in a vegetative way — by shoots or by dividing the rhizome of the mother culture.
How do bananas grow in the wild?
In their homeland, a real banana does not form fruits that can be eaten by a person. The elevated stem of the culture is formed from the leaves of the culture, they grow quite quickly, while the old ones die off and fall off, and in their place a young green mass develops. If the weather conditions are suitable, then the sheets of a banana in 5–7 days will be able to reach two or three meters in length. Flowering culture occurs once in ten months. At this time, one sprout grows on the plant, which usually blooms in the dark.
Banana blooms in white flowers. After the flowering phase, the process of forming fruits on female flowers begins. In a natural environment, a perennial plant can live for about a hundred years. The reproduction of a tropical plant in nature occurs by the seed method, animals that live in this area contribute to this process, since wild-growing banana fruits are actively consumed by them. In addition, after the death of one crop from its rhizome, a young plant is formed, thus the natural filling of the forest space with a grassy culture takes place.
Suppliers to Russia
Now the leading positions in the supply of fruit to Europe and Russia are occupied by the Philippines, Ecuador, China and Brazil. Along with these countries, both Colombian and Panamanian companies supply their products. Not so long ago, bananas appeared on the market, which are grown in greenhouse conditions in Iceland. Due to the favorable climate, warm countries have a serious agrarian advantage, in view of which they naturally create ideal conditions for growing such fruit bearing crops. In our country, fruits can ripen only in the Krasnodar Territory, for example, in Sochi, where Chinese bananas are successfully grown.
How to grow bananas on a modern banana farm, see the next video.
The origin of the word "banana".
Accurate information about the origin of the Latin definition of Musa is not available. Some researchers believe that the banana was named in memory of court physician Antonio Muse, who served in the service of Octavius Augustus, the Roman emperor who ruled in the last decades BC. uh and the first years of our era. According to another theory, it comes from the Arabic word "موز", which sounds like "muses" - the names of edible fruits formed on this plant. The term “banana” has been translated into Russian as the free transliteration of the word “banana” from the dictionaries of almost all European languages. Apparently, this definition was borrowed by Spanish or Portuguese sailors at the end of the 16th and early 17th centuries from the vocabulary of the tribes living in West Africa.
What is a banana in terms of botany?
It has long been commonplace among the average man that a banana grows on palm trees and in the wild. But it is not so.
It may seem strange, but from a scientific point of view, a banana is a perennial herb, and its fruits are multi-seeded and thick-skinned berries.
Immediately the question arises - where are these seeds? The fact is that they are found in wild fruits that are oval in shape and require cleaning. And those fruits that are sold on the shelves of supermarkets are the product of the work of breeders, the cultural form of this berry created by them. In total, there are more than 40 species and 500 varieties of bananas (the Latin name is Musa).
The most common cultivated banana varieties are:
- Ladies finger
- Gro Michel,
- Pygmy Cavendish,
- Giant Cavendish,
Edible varieties are divided into 2 large groups. The first is bananas with sweet fruit to be eaten raw. The second group includes planters, which produce starchy fruits for subsequent cooking.
Bush with green bananas
A banana has a characteristic structure for grassy plants, namely: powerful roots and a stem with leaves, from 6 to 20 pieces. This is the second highest grass in the world (after bamboo).
Grow on a tree or not?
On which tree do bananas grow? Good question. After all, if you look from the outside - it seems to be like a banana. However, as already mentioned, the plant itself is grassy, that is, it is not a tree, although it grows up to 8 m (higher than many trees). The diameter of the stem reaches 40 cm.
Banana leaves, growing from a short tuberous stem (located underground), form a visible or false stem.
The root system of the plant deepens by 1.5 m, while spreading 4.5-5 m to the sides, like most herbs. The leaves are layered on each other, a feature of their structure is a large longitudinal vein, passing through the center. The color of the leaves depends on the variety, they can be completely green, have maroon spots, and also be two-colored: from the top - green, and from the bottom - crimson.
Bananas grow in clusters, their number can reach up to 100 pieces. The highest productivity is observed at high humidity, although it can lead to the development of fungal diseases. Also very important is the presence of sunlight.
Life cycle in nature
The life cycle of a banana is typical of herbaceous plants - the development of a false stem, flowering, fruiting and dying off of the leaves.
After the appearance of the first processes (with seed reproduction), rapid development begins. In nature, bananas grow very quickly - in just 9-10 months their false stems reach a height of 8 m. At this age, the reproductive period (phase) begins in the life of the plant. A characteristic feature of this stage is the cessation of the formation and growth of new leaves.
Instead of them, a flowering stem begins to develop inside the false stem. After 2-3 weeks, a large inflorescence in the form of a purple bud is formed. Under its base are bananas, which in the future will be the fruits. The largest flowers are female, they are at the top. Just below are bisexual, and at the very bottom are male flowers, they are the smallest.
Pollination of female flowers produce:
- nectar birds,
- stupid (small animals that look like squirrels),
- insects (butterflies, bees, wasps),
- bats (at night).
The latter are attracted by the peculiar smell of inflorescences. As it develops, a bunch of fruits is formed, resembling a brush with many fingers. After maturation, they are literally attacked by the same animals and birds through which pollination occurred.
When the fruiting is completed, the false stem dies off, after which the new one begins to grow.
How to multiply?
There are 2 ways how bananas breed:
- using seeds,
- vegetative method.
Vegetative reproduction is a faster and more reliable method than seed. Biologically, the process is as follows: after the plant has been bearing fruit, its ground part dies off, and the root grows to the side, creating new bushes.
Bananas are propagated by offspring and parts of the rhizome (rhizome). The most survivable and productive offspring are formed during the fruiting of the mother plant, during this period they have the maximum supply of nutrients. As for planting with a rhizome, it is best to use segments weighing 1.5 to 2 kg of whole rhizomes dug from old plantations
Landing is best done at the beginning of the rainy season.
In nature, bananas multiply by the seeds that are inside the fruit. At the same time, the fruit of the wild banana itself is inedible. It can contain from 50 to 100 seeds, sometimes their number reaches 200. Seeds germinate after they fall into the ground (for example, when a ripe fruit falls). It takes time, because they are covered with thick skinned. After about 2 months, a green appendix will appear and the development of the plant will begin.
Due to vegetative reproduction, cultivated varieties of bananas do not renew their gene pool, as a result of which they weakly resist fungal diseases.
Soil with a high humus content and good drainage is best suited for growing on plantations. If the drainage is bad, then the risk of damage by the same fungi multiply increases. To maintain high yields, it is desirable to use potash and nitrogen fertilizers.
Above, we examined how bananas grow and where, as well as some features of their structure and development. Let's summarize the main results:
- Banana is not only tasty fruits, but also an interesting plant. It is grassy, although the size of this “grass” is misleading people, giving rise to the myth that bananas grow on trees.
- Domestic varieties can only multiply with the help of a person, but they have remarkable taste characteristics and are free from seeds inside the fruit.
- The importance of banana culture for humanity can not be overestimated: in many countries, the banana is traditionally one of the main foods, as well as the main export products. Therefore, the states where bananas grow are constantly increasing their production. And this means that the value of this culture will only increase in the future.
The composition of the banana, vitamins and minerals. What is useful bananas?
Bananas are classified as low-fat, but sufficiently nutritious and energetically valuable foods. The flesh of its raw fruits for a quarter consists of carbohydrates and sugars, a third - from dry substances. It contains starch, fiber, pectins, proteins and various essential oils, giving the fruit a distinctive flavor. The composition of banana pulp includes useful and necessary for the human body minerals and vitamins: potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, sodium, copper, zinc, and also vitamins of group B, E, C and PP. Due to the unique chemical composition of the plant has found application in medicine.
How many calories in a banana?
Data per 100 grams of product:
- calorie green banana - 89 kcal,
- calorie content of ripe banana - 110-120 kcal,
- calorie overripe banana - 170-180 kcal,
- calorie dried banana - 320 kcal.
Since bananas are different in size, the caloric content of 1 banana varies between 70-135 kilocalories:
- 1 small banana weighing up to 80 g and a length of up to 15 cm contains approximately 72 kcal,
- 1 average banana weighing up to 117 g and a length of more than 18 cm contains about 105 kcal,
- One large banana weighing more than 150 g and a length of more than 22 cm contains about 135 kcal.
The energy value of a ripe banana (the ratio of proteins, fats, carbohydrates) (data per 100 g):
- squirrels in a banana - 1.5 g. (
6 kcal), fats in a banana - 0.5 g. (
5 kcal), carbohydrates in a banana - 21 g. (
It is important to note that bananas do not cope well with hunger, increasing it after a short saturation. The reason lies in a significant sugar content, which rises in the blood and after a while increases the appetite.
Food served in India on banana leaves
Useful properties of a banana. Application of bananas.
So what are the benefits of bananas?
- Banana pulp is used to relieve inflammatory processes occurring in the oral cavity, as well as a dietary product in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers. In addition, the banana is weak and therefore used as a mild laxative. Due to the presence of tryptophan, an amino acid that prevents cell aging and has a beneficial effect on the brain, bananas are recommended for people of old age. The presence of potassium and magnesium allows them to be used as a means of preventing the rise in blood pressure and stroke.
- The infusion of banana flowers helps in the treatment of diabetes and bronchitis. Juice obtained from banana stems is a good anticonvulsant and sedative.
- The invaluable benefits of bananas are concentrated in the peel. Banana skins are used for medicinal purposes. Compresses of young leaves or banana peel contribute to the rapid healing of burns and abscesses on the skin.
- Banana peel is used as a fertilizer for indoor and outdoor colors. The fact is that it contains a large amount of phosphorus and potassium. With the help of a banana peel, you can fight with aphids, which do not tolerate an excess of potassium. To do this, just need to make a tincture on banana skins and water the plants with it. Самый простой способ использовать банановые шкурки для удобрения цветов – это попросту закопать их в землю. Для этого достаточно порезать кожуру на небольшие части. После этой процедуры даже самые уставшие растения начинают покрываться листвой и цвести. Кожура банана разлагается в земле на протяжении 10 дней, после чего бактерии съедают её.
- The benefits of bananas are invaluable: even overripe bananas produce a very powerful antioxidant that prevents cancer.
Residents of countries located in temperate latitudes gladly eat raw peeled bananas as a dessert, add them to ice cream and confectionery. Some nations prefer dried and canned bananas. Also, this berry is fried and cooked with or without the peel, adding salt, hot spices, olive oil, onion or garlic. You can make flour, chips from bananas, make syrup, marmalade, honey and wine. In addition to fruits, they also eat banana inflorescence: raw inflorescences are dipped in sauce, and boiled ones are added to gravy or soups. From the immature fruits of the banana prepare starch. Boiled waste of bananas of vegetable and dessert varieties is used as feed for cattle and small livestock.
The fruits and the rest of the banana are used:
- in the leather industry as a black dye,
- in the textile industry for the production of fabrics,
- for the manufacture of very strong sea ropes and ropes,
- when building rafts and making seat cushions,
- like plates and trays for serving traditional South Asian dishes in India and Sri Lanka.
How to make plates of banana leaves
Bananas: contraindications and harm.
- It is undesirable to eat bananas before bedtime, and combine with milk, so as not to provoke fermentation in the stomach and not cause a bowel failure.
- People suffering from diabetes, bananas are prohibited, because they contain little glucose and fructose, but a lot of sugar.
- Bananas can be harmful to people who suffer from thrombophlebitis, as these berries contribute to blood clots.