Bloomin’ Update 56: Going Bananas!


Banana

Ever since Joe first noticed the flower stem emerging from the crown of our banana tree, I’ve been singing the song “Going Bananas.” Madonna sang it during her Dick Tracey years and it pops into my head whenever I walk by the tree and observe the changes in the inflorescence.

Actually, I don’t even know the words — just the chorus, and even that’s a bit shaky. So all I really ever sing is “I’m going bananas” and then I add a few la-la-las and a couple of boom-chick-a-booms.

Simply put, I’m going bananas because I’m growing bananas.

Banana

Within a few days, the flower stem is pulled downward by the weight of the inflorescence, so that it’s peeking below the dark green foliage and looking a lot like the Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.

Banana Fact: This flower stem is actually the plant’s true stem, growing from the rhizome below the ground and pushing its way upward through the false stem or pseudostem, a very fibrous, water-filled stem of tightly packed leaf sheaths.

As it grows, modified leaves or bracts curl back to reveal rows of young fruit.

Banana

Each of these are tipped with a pale yellow female flower. The male flowers are contained in the reddish-brown bud at the end of the flower stem.

Banana

Soon, more and more bananas are revealed. Each bunch is called a hand, and each single banana is called a finger.

Banana Fact: Each hand can have between 10 and 20 fingers.

Banana

I’m so enamored of the plant’s structure, I find myself wanting to photograph it each day.

Banana Fact: because they are derived from a single flower with more than one ovary, bananas — like tomatoes, kiwi, and pomegranates — are berries.

Banana

Banana

The pale yellow flowers begin to fade.

Banana Fact: A banana plant is actually classified as a perennial herb.

Banana

Banana

And all that’s left for me to do is wait for the harvest.  (Notice the smaller male flowers at the bottom of the photo below.)

Banana

Banana

I’m not exactly sure when that harvest will be. All I know is the flower stem will continue to elongate, creating more space between the hands. At some point after that, it will be time to not only remove the fruit, but also the plant itself to make room for the pup that’s already sprouting next to the mother plant.

Banana Fact: Until then, rest assured, I’ll be going bananas.

23 thoughts on “Bloomin’ Update 56: Going Bananas!

    • Hi Lynn. Good luck with your banana. It’s a beautiful plant. I have two neighbors with banana plants. One keeps them very neat and tidy,w while the other lets them grow wild. Personally, I like the neat and trim — but I’ll take the foliage and fruit any which way I can. 🙂

  1. Berries? STOP! NO WAY, bananas are berries. This is absurd. Oh, and pseudostems? WHAT???

    You never cease to amaze me, Kevin. Every visit to NittyGritty is a learning experience par excellence!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Have to go now, I have a ripened “finger” waiting for me in my fruit bowl. (Who knew?) 🙂

    Love, —K

  2. Wow !!! growing your own banana’s how great is that !!!!! There is nothing better than plucking a ripe banana from a tree, over here when they arrive they are still hard and green but we tasted banana’s in Costa Rica and they were sooooooo good ! By the way, going banana’s is good ! 😀

    • Hi Gwennie. I find that different bananas have different flavors — some are more sweet, while others are more tart. I’m not sure if that’s my imagination or not. And since I’ve been in South Florida, I’m hooked on sweet plantains as a side dish. Yum!

      • I think it is the same with all fruits, there are different sorts but when you know they pluck banana’s for Northern Europe they are still very green, they are wrapped in plastic and a gas is used to not let them ripen any furter, then they go on a boat and when they arrive in Europe they get another gas so they can start ripening, in the shops they are still green, you take some home and 2 days later they are ready to eat, 6 days later they are brown…… so when you can pluck one from a tree that is ripe you can imagine that one is yum compared to the green one ! (learned this all in Costa Rica where we visited a banana farm :D)

  3. I’d be going “bananas,” too Kevin! What a glorious specimen! I do hope they actually end up tasting good, but if for some reason they’re not what is anticipated, you’ve been treated to a fabulous show. You have captured some fantastic shots of the inner structure, and I’m excited to see what comes next as they move through the entire cycle. I hope you’ll share again!

    • Hi Debra. I keep checking — nothing seems to be ripening yet. Perhaps these things take time. I also agree with you — it’s fun just to watch them grow, even if they don’t have the taster I’m hoping for. And yes, I will share again. 🙂

  4. Very cool! Sure beats blogging about the latest cold snap 🙂
    Love how solid they look and I have to agree bananas picked right off the tree is an awesome thing. Every now and then when we’re down there we come across a bunch in season, and we have a lot of fun “foraging” for our next meal.

    • Hi Bittster. I cannot believe the cold you’re all having — but to make this about me . . . That polar cold front slipped all the way down the Florida peninsula, which means delightful, dry, 78 degree weather — and I’m milking it for all it’s worth, because this kind of relief from heat can’t go on forever. Stay warm and stay safe.

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