Like trivia? Here are 10 facts about America’s favorite fruit!
- Three medium bananas weigh approximately one pound.
- Roughly 96% of American households purchase bananas at least once per month.
- A cluster of bananas, called a “hand,” consists of 10 to 20 individual bananas, also known as fingers. In fact, the word banana comes from banan, the Arabic word for “finger.”
- There is no such thing as a banana “tree.” Bananas are actually massive herbs related to palms, lilies, and orchids. Bananas are the largest plants on earth without a woody stem. The “trunk” is comprised of sheaths of overlapping leaves, wrapped tightly around each other. They reach their full height of up to 30 feet during their first year of growth.
- A single banana leaf can grow up to 12 feet in length. In Southeast Asia, Central America and much of Africa, food is wrapped in banana leaves for storage and cooking, much like aluminum foil in the West. The leaves lend a subtle flavor to dishes cooked in them, and their hardiness allows them to be used time and again.
- Bananas are grown and harvested year-round. They grow from a bulb, not a seed. A perennial crop, each bulb sprouts new shoots every year.
- In India, flowers from the banana tree are considered sacred. During religious ceremonies, such as weddings, banana flowers are fastened to a headband for good luck. In Thailand, banana flowers are eaten as a delicacy.
- Bananas were first introduced to the Western world when Alexander the Great discovered them during his conquest of India in 327 B.C.
- Bananas were first brought to the United States in 1876, for the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. The exotic fruits were wrapped in foil and sold for 10¢ apiece (roughly $1.70 in today’s dollars).
- There are more than 400 varieties of banana in existence.
Jaime McLeod is a longtime journalist who has written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including MTV.com. She enjoys the outdoors, growing and eating organic food, and is interested in all aspects of natural wellness.