Modern banana trees are a cultivated crop derived from wild banana trees that yield inedible fruit. The first cross-pollination of banana trees occurred in Malaysia around 2000 BC. Banana trees are a very large herb plant that yields berries called bananas.
Banana trees sprout from underground rootstalks that grow horizontally from a mature banana tree. After 10 to 15 months, the tree sprouts and forms a stalk, then grows leaves that can be 9 feet long and 2 feet wide.
Banana trees sprout female flowers, sterile flowers and finally male flowers. Bananas sprout from the female flowers without pollination.
Modern banana trees originated from wild banana trees in east and Southeast Asia. Modern, fruit-bearing species originated from cross-pollinating two inedible banana species.
Banana trees require rich, well-drained soils and frequent, deep watering to support their large leaves. They flourish when temperatures are between 28 and 100 degrees.
Bananas will produce one crop of fruit and then die. In late summer, the flowers form fruit, which ripens in early spring. One small shoot should be allowed to spring from the mature banana tree and all others should be removed to ensure fruit production and next year’s crop.