What's that black thread thing in the middle of a Banana called?

Been arguing about this for years with my cousin. Sometimes that black stuff in the middle of the banana is just dots and other times it’s a very noticeable hard string.

I always argued that it was seeds because of the black dots.

Whatever it is, I split the banana in half and remove it, if it’s a solid, hard string. You often find them towards the end of the banana. I found a black string about 2 inches long today in a banana.

I’m sure it must have a name. My google fu is failing. Anyone know?

It is most likely the placenta and the small parts are the ovule.

I don’t know what structure you’re referring to, but the black dots are in fact aborted seeds. Bananas are triploid, so are unable to successfully undergo meiosis. Seed development is therefore halted at an early stage. In wild, diploid ancestral bananas, the “fruit” part is merely a thin layer around a series of ping-pong ball sized seeds.

The black dots aren’t seeds, in that you could plant one and it would grow. Cultivated bananas almost never have seeds in them.

I’m going to regret asking, but where do baby banana trees come from if bananas don’t have seeds?

How is babby bannana formed?

Subdividing the rhizome.

(If you’ve grown irises, its like that.)

Bananas you’re accustomed to aren’t natural bananas.

That’s what a wild banana with seeds looks like. Bananas we eat are produced artificially and are sterile.

They have “pups” …

That’s what one calls the bit that splits off the “mother corm”:


And at risk of going extinct[sup]![/sup], because they are all clones and thus extremely vulnerable to monoculture plague.

[sup]![/sup]For the second time!

I didn’t know bananas had corms. The cladistic on Wikipedia doesn’t make them out to be that closely related to daylilies and irises, but that does seem similar. Then again, they’re both monocots, and I’m used to other stuff I plant being eudicots (new word!), so there you go.

BTW, watermelons have similar genetics to bananas, in that a cross between diploid and tetraploid individuals produces a sterile seedless triploid. To get seedless watermelons, however, a fresh batch of hybrid seeds is produced, and seedless melons grown from them, rather than continually cloning them. If you like, you can buy packages of seedless watermelon seeds.

Seedless fruit, in general:


Thanks. very interesting

Is the wild banana edible?

Probably, but not worth the trouble due to the enormous seeds. Modern bananas derive from two wild species:

Modern cultivars of the acuminata type are the sweeter “dessert” bananas you typically think of. balbisiana hybrid types are cooking bananas like plantains.

The wiki article on acuminata suggests that it may have originally been cultivated for something other than eating the fruit:

Cecil on banana husbandry.

You had me for a while there, but lost me at “male bud.” (haha)

Thanks! That was informative and interesting. I’m glad to learn the plantains’ place in it. I’ve always had a vague wondering about bananas and plantains since living in Latin America. Just never looked it up.

Don’t be silly. Why would any woman marry a banana?

Oh… :o

A while back, I decided to try other banana varieties besides the Cavendish. The only ones available were little yellow and little red varieties. To me they tasted just like the big yellow ones. Are there other sweet bananas (not plantains) that taste different from the usual Cavendish?

I get to say my favourite thing ever: bananas are GENETICALLY DECREPIT STERILE MUTANTS!


Please check this photos. The fruits at bottom are all tasty.:slight_smile: