My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana. I said 'No, but I want a regular banana later, so...yeah.'

 


Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005)

Bananas

Sterile, and Upside Down


Bananas grow pointing upwards, not downwards. Botanically speaking the banana is a berry, and it grows on a plant that's a herb (not a tree). Each banana plant produces only one ‘bunch’ of bananas and then dies. However, that bunch may weigh up to 50 kilos.
 
The banana is a triumph of packaging: it fits the hand perfectly, the wrapper is easy to open, you can see if it has been tampered with, and it changes colour when its ‘best before’ date passes. 
 
Commercially grown varieties of banana don't contain seeds - new plants are grown from cuttings and are virtual clones of one another, which makes them unusually susceptible to disease. The Gros Michel variety, for example, was nearly wiped out in the 1960s, and the Cavendish, its successor as top banana, is also currently threatened (although the threat is thought to be manageable).


 

CONGOLESE PROVERB

Lower your head modestly while passing, and you will harvest bananas.

 

Banana plants walk up to 40 centimetres in a lifetime.

Radioactive 'nanas


Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive (as are Brazil nuts, actually, and tobacco) because of their high potassium content; you get a dose of about 0.005 millirem from eating a banana. Living within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant exposes you to an average annual dose of 0.09 millirem per year, i.e. the same as eating 1.64 bananas. The annual dose from living within 50 miles of a coal-fired plant is higher, because of the radioactivity of the emissions from burning coal: the equivalent of eating about five and a half bananas a year.

There's nothing alarming about eating radioactive fruit in this way - the potassium isotope in question, K-40, is present in our bodies in any case.


 

Most species of banana have not had sex for 10,000 years.

Banana Republics


The term 'banana republic' was used of Central American countries whose economies were entirely dependent on this one crop, and which were effectively run by US fruit companies. Bananas were mainly grown in the Caribbean until the US banana magnate Minor Cooper Keith (1848-1929) set up the United Fruit Company, which became the predominant economic and political force throughout Central America in the early 20th century.
 

Some theological authorities believe that the Forbidden Fruit in the Bible was in fact a banana.

The biggest consumers of bananas in Europe are the Germans. The largest exporter of bananas in Europe is Ireland.

Overripe bananas are a mild laxative.

The first ever president of Zimbabwe was called Canaan Banana. He had jokes about his name banned.

In Islamic tradition the forbidden fruit was a banana, and Adam and Eve covered up with banana, not fig leaves.