If there is an item that has always been part of the food of the Brazilian people, it is the banana . Eaten in natura (pure and without mixtures) or in several types of recipes, the banana is known as one of the most consumed fruits worldwide. But there is a doubt about this fruit that has always been so close to our diets: do bananas have seeds ?
Before answering that question, it is good to know some information about bananas. Brazil is the country that most exports this fruit, as well as the one that consumes it the most .
According to data from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), in 2017 alone, Brazil exported more than 41 tons of bananas of various types to other countries. Among the main destinations are Uruguay, Argentina and Poland.
Bearing in mind how important the banana is for the country’s agricultural and livestock economy, which is common in our daily lives, we can move on with the curiosities about this fruit so cultivated and beloved here.
Does the banana have seeds?
The banana is one of the most consumed fruits in the world (Photo: depositphotos)
In general, no . There are some black dots inside the banana and many people think they are seeds. In fact, those little dots are unfertilised eggs from the plant.
This does not mean that every banana has no seeds, only those that we consume do not have. Calm! Let’s explain everything right.
The banana is a parthenocarpic fruit . This type of fruit does not use fertilization to reproduce. The parthenocarpy process can happen in two ways: naturally or artificially induced.
In Brazil, and in many other countries, bananas do not have seeds due to the combination of the two types of parthenocarpy. As this type of fruit is used almost exclusively for food , finding it without seeds is much more advantageous.
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The tendency to have no seeds and the agronomic manipulation of their cultivation and handling made bananas a seedless fruit .
But are there still bananas with seeds?
Not only can, but they exist . It is necessary to remember that every plant is a living being, and most of them also have systems of defense, survival and reproduction. This quasi-rational system of nature can cause bananas to be born with seeds in order to ensure that they continue to exist in nature.
In South Asia, for example, there is a type of banana called Musa balbisiana , which is known to have seeds inside. Its internal aspect resembles the well-known pine cone, which can be found easily in Brazil.
The seeded banana is called Musa balbisiana (Photo: depositphotos)
It is worth remembering that seeded bananas are called “ wild bananas ”, and are no longer suitable for consumption. They develop seed as a result of environmental stress, a situation that changes several nutritional points in the plant. Even some of them can harm the human body , due to the properties of its seeds.
The parthenocarpic banana, the well-known seedless banana, should remain the only option on tables and fruit trees in homes around the world.
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So how is a banana plant born?
Banana reproduction is done vegetatively . That is, with parts of itself being used to reproduce more banana trees. In general, it can occur in two ways.
The first of them is with the fall of the banana shoots . Bananas are born in heavy bunches, which eventually fall off their stems and fall to the ground. Along with them, sprouts from the plant may also fall. They can even fall on their own.
Bananas are born in heavy bunches (Photo: depositphotos)
These fallen shoots can act as seeds, giving rise to a banana tree. A disadvantage in this process is the lack of genetic variety. The plant that will grow from the bud will be the same as the plant that dropped it . In this way, some deformities, diseases and genetic risks can pass from one plant to another.
The other way is from the rhizome fractionation , which in a simple way, can be understood as the technique of planting pieces of the plant’s stem .
A banana tree can also be the result of artificial processes and genetic alteration, such as the production of seedlings in vitro . Being an expensive and difficult process, it is carried out by large banana producers. This process can guarantee that banana trees, as well as their fruits, are born with healthy and nutritional characteristics.