Do Bananas Have Seeds?
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
If you’re the type to wonder about such things, you may have noticed that the bananas you buy at the store seem to contain no seeds. If that’s the case, how does the banana tree reproduce? Well, it turns out the bananas do have seeds (of a sort) but they aren’t used for reproduction.
If you went out into the wild and opened a banana fruit, you would probably find seeds. Some, in fact, are large and take up much of the fruit, making the flesh hard to eat. Our commercial bananas (which are, for the most part, the Cavendish variety) have been specially bred over the years so that they are seedless triploids that do not form mature seeds. If you’ve noticed little black dots in the middle of the banana, you’ve discovered immature seeds that won’t develop, which happens with triploids.
The banana is actually a type of plantain. Those of the sweet variety that we usually peel and eat raw are often called “dessert” bananas, owing to their sweetness and general snackability. What we call “plantains” simply have that popular name to distinguish them as the large varieties that are typically cooked before eating. Yummy, yellow dessert bananas are bred from mutant strains of banana plants that happened to produce fruit without useful seeds. Banana plants are cultivated by removing rhizomes from host plants and replanting the samples to grow on their own. With this method, one plant can become the “mother” of an entire plantation made up of genetically identical plants.
Talking About Bananas
The next time you need to impress someone, peel off these terms to show your banana brain.
Have you ever stopped to think and wonder whether bananas have seeds? Learn all about banana seeds and many other facts of this a-peel-ing fruit.
How to Extract Banana Seeds From the Banana
By: Jeffrey Brian Airman
The popular yellow banana variety know as the Cavendish contains small remnants of undeveloped seeds. These can be seen in the form of tiny black specks in the center of the banana’s flesh.
Seedless bananas are grown by cutting the corm or root from a parent plant and replanting it nearby to start a new plant. Each plant only produces one harvest of bananas before it is used to generate new plants for the next season.
Bananas need to grow under very strict environmental conditions and may not thrive in every garden. Research your particular wild variety and consider mimicking the conditions of its natural environment in a greenhouse or controlled growing area.
Most varieties of bananas sold in the United States contain no seeds within the fruit. Wild banana varieties found in Africa and Asia have dark, hard-angled or rounded seeds embedded into the fruit’s flesh. These seeds are harvested to replant and to press them for their oil. Extracting the seeds from these wild bananas is a messy yet simple operation.
Select a wild banana that gives to slight pressure so you know it is fully ripened and the seeds have matured. Ask your grocer about special-ordering these rare bananas or collect them on a trip to Africa or Asia. Check with customs before transporting any whole produce out of the country; they may insist you only take seeds.
- Most varieties of bananas sold in the United States contain no seeds within the fruit.
- Ask your grocer about special-ordering these rare bananas or collect them on a trip to Africa or Asia.
Use a sharp knife to make a shallow incision into the peel of the banana. Try not to actually cut into the flesh, just break the peel for easy opening.
Spread your newly opened slit and remove all the flesh and seeds contained inside. You may want to wear a pair of food-safe plastic gloves to keep the sticky fruit sugars off of your hands.
Squeeze the flesh of the banana with one hand as you pluck out the exposed seeds with the other. Seeds will be oblong and hard and appear dark brown or black with varying size and shape.
Rinse your harvested seeds in warm running water to remove any remaining banana flesh, then place them into a small collection bowl lined with a paper towel to air dry.
Most varieties of bananas sold in the United States contain no seeds within the fruit. Wild banana varieties found in Africa and Asia have dark, hard-angled or rounded seeds embedded into the fruit’s flesh. These seeds are harvested to replant and to press them for their oil.