Botanical Characteristics

 

Rhizome

Rhizome is that part of banana that normally seen buried in the soil. It is responsible for giving anchorage to the plant. So rhizome is often referred as the foot of the plant. A number of root hairs will be seen attached to the rhizome. These root hairs will facilitate in the uptake of the food and nutrient into the plant body. Further, rhizome does another important function. It give birth to the leaf and also a number of suckers. These suckers intern are responsible for the propagation of the plant.

Pseudo-stem Pseudostem is the pillar like structure on which the leaves hangs. Actually, the pseudostem is a column made through a number of tightly packed leaf sheaths. At the center of the pseudostem there is tube like structure called cambium. This layer acts as the connecting link between the rhizome and the bunch. And the translocation of food and nutrients take place through it. Thus, pseudostem also plays an important role in the plant body.

Leaf Leaves of banana give the real beauty to the plant. But, the main function of the leaf is to prepare the food for the plant. That is why leaves are often called as the powerhouse of the plant. And to generate the required power for a healthy growth of the plant, a minimum of 10-12 leaves are needed at a time. And to maintain that much leaves, the plant has to produce on an average one leaf in every 7-10 days.

Inflorescence In banana, the emergence of inflorescence starts around seven months from planting. During the period the stem size get reduced and the flag leaf emerges. We can notice two types of flowers in banana namely the male and female flowers . The hands of banana will be developed from the female flowers. And the male flowers will be seen at the tip. The bees and birds visiting the plant for nectar serve as pollinators. The climate during the later part of this stage has marked effect on fruit number. Further, the number of hands and fruits are also decided at this stage.

Fruit Fruit of banana is the edible portion that we call as bunch. The development of fruit takes place when the concentration of auxin, a growth hormone, becomes high. At this stage the translocation of nutrients will be more to the developing fruits. Therefore, special care has to be given to avoid drought and other stress. Any adverse stress in the initial three months of fruit development will reduce the fruit size. And it will take around three to four months for the developing fruit to reach maturity.

References 1. Bose, T.K., Mithra, S.K., Sanyal, D. (1996) Fruits: Tropical and Sub-Tropical, Naya Udyog Publications, Calcutta.
2. Rao, V.N.M.(1998) Banana, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi.