Are Bananas Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Many people around the world have wondered – are bananas fruits? – and with good reason, since they are unique in many ways.

Are Bananas Fruits, Vegetables or Herbs?

Although people have argued that bananas are vegetables because they lack seeds, that isn’t actually true. Bananas that are commercially grown and distributed around the world are sterile, so their seeds are significantly reduced in size. The small brown or black specks you see in the middle of the banana are the immature seeds. These bananas have been specifically bred not to have seeds since banana plants in the wild have large seeds that make it difficult to eat the fruit.

So, clearly, bananas are not vegetables, but are bananas fruits? Or are they herbs? Most people would immediately argue that bananas are fruits, but as it turns out, the distinction of a fruit versus an herb is based partially on the type of stem the plant contains. Although we refer to the plant where bananas grow as a banana tree, that isn’t an accurate distinction. Banana plants are actually herbaceous plants, and their stems do not contain any wood tissue.

Yellow ripe bananas and green raw bananas on a black dish on wood

Ripe vs unripe bananas Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Since the classification of foods as vegetables, fruits, and herbs are a bit confusing, and certain foods exist in a grey area between accurate categorizations, it is generally agreed upon that bananas are both fruits and herbs. Basically, the botanical definition of a fruit makes bananas a fruit, but the botanical definition of an herb makes a banana plant herbaceous.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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