Some of the ancient tales refer to a banana tree as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This plant is known to have originated in the tropical areas of Southeast Asia, and was first cultivated in Papua New Guinea.
As of today, it is grown throughout the tropical belt.The botanical name of the banana plant is Musa sapientium. Although this plant closely resembles the palm tree, actually it is an herb and not a tree. Since the plant is tall and strong, it is often referred to as a tree. However, the stem is botanically a 'psuedostem', which can grow to a height of 2 to 8 meters. This pseudostem bears flowers and fruit every year, and then dies to give way to another one of its kind. This stem is covered by enormous number of leaves that overlap each other to form a tough column that protects it from strong winds. This is nature’s method of providing wind resistance to this 'false trunk'. The leaves of this plant are fan shaped, and grow to about 3 meters in length.
A single large flower, protected by red bracts, emerges from the apex of the stem. Flowers on a banana plant are red, yellow or black in color. The fruit is borne in bunches called hands at some distance from the flower. These hands have the capacity to contain about 200 bananas, and point upwards due to the effect of light. The bunch laden with fruit weighs approximately 90 pounds, and sometimes even more. This plant reproduces by vegetative propagation of underground roots or budding stems.
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