The Q&A Archives: Banana Trees

Question: How can you tell what type of banana trees you have? Can you eat them? They never seem to turn yellow.

Answer: Banana trees are actually herbaceous shrubs, with a large stem that resembles a trunk, and large, frond-like foliage. True bananas grow from the species 'Ensete', but most commonly grown Banana trees are 'Musa', which do not produce edible fruit. Culture for both Ensete and Musa are the same; give full sun and lots of water. The tops of either plant may die down in cold weather, but new growth will begin in the spring. Both are very fast growing and need frequent, deep watering during the growing season (spring - summer). If your plant is producing fruit, about the only way to determine whether or not it is edible is to take the fruit to your local Cooperative Extension office or nursery for positive identification.

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