A banana is an oval fleshy fruit juicy, low-fat, yellow-green, sweet and sour food produced by many types of large, tree-like flowering plants in the family Cucurbitaceae. In tropical countries, bananas are primarily eaten raw; however, in other regions, bananas are used for preparing a variety of recipes. Among the most common recipes for banana purpuree is that made with ripe, green, ripe bananas. The main ingredients of banana purpuree are:
The banana tree (Bajan) grows abundantly throughout much of Central and South America, especially in the banana belt of Brazil. The banana tree is a strange botanical creature. It grows tall and, unlike most other tropical orchids, does not have a stem. The banana tree bears flowers on a single cane, which are used to provide fragrance to the fruit of the banana tree.
The strange botanical fact concerning the banana’s strange flowers and narrow, spiraling leaves is that they resemble that of a moth. Each flower has two pairs of bipolar tubular spikes, while the leaves have four. All this points to the plant having a very unusual root system, and the odd bulbous flowers are borne on short, curved shoots that seem to resemble the shoots of a moth.
The scientific name of the banana plant is “Rubia cordifolia,” but commonly known as the “banana tree.” The banana plant is distantly related to the mango and the apple (the best-known of which is the apple tree). Like the apple, it contains a seed which is enclosed within a wax thin shell. Like the mango, it too bears fruit, which is covered and scarfed with a seed to ensure a firm attachment to the tree. The appearance and shape of the banana plant closely resembles that of the familiar peanut, except that it bears a white bluish-green fruit with an orange skin.
The banana family (Rhodophyceae) includes over 100 types of plants in North America, which are classified into nine subspecies. The three most common banana species are the American (anasicarpa intermedia), European (cherry mosaic) and Asian (associates). Most bananas are hybrid and have some characteristic features in common with other closely related plants. For instance, all share the following general features:
All banana varieties have leaves with 10 to 17 white bands around the outer edge. The banana ovaries are situated in the middle of the leaf, and the female flowers are located below this ovary. A peculiar feature is that the female flowers appear to develop on the undersides of the leaves. One of the strangest botanical facts about bananas is that the male banana, which is half way between the female flower and the Ovary, rarely grows larger than one inch. It is due to this oddity that the fruit is called the “banana berry”.
The bananas are hybrids; so are the coconuts and peanuts. In addition, the bananas belong to the class of fruits called solanaceous fruits, which include such fruits as the avocado, grapefruit and watermelon. All other bananas grow on trees in tropical rain forests or floodplains. The most common variety is the yellow or blue Java banana, which has a spherical shape and a yellow band around the middle. The banana with the blue Java color has larger brown bananas with numerous black seeds.
As regards the history of the banana, little is known. We do know that natives of South America have been growing bananas since antiquity. The banana may have first been cultivated by the Mayans around 6000 B.C., although exact dates are not available. The banana was soon brought to Easter Island by Spanish explorers. In addition, banana cultivation spread all over Central America, from the central highlands to the lowlands.