How Do Banana Flowers Develop?

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Bruce K. Kirchoff, Emeritus Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Banana flowers form deep within the stem of the banana plant, long before they appear to us. The flowers occur in groups called hands, and the hands are arranged into larger clusters of flowers. Both the number of flowers in a hand and their pattern of development are different between cultivated (supermarket) and wild species of bananas. In supermarket bananas, each hand has many flowers, and the flowers develop in a regular pattern from right to left. In the wild species called the hairy banana, there is no regular pattern of flower formation. Flowers of the hairy banana are never formed in the regular right-to-left manner as found in the supermarket species. This is surprising and illustrates an important point about science: we do not always get the answers we expect. When they are first formed, banana flowers have no parts. They go through a process to form the flower parts that we see. After we describe how this takes place, we give you a project, so you can see how this happens on your own. You will work as a scientist to discover the pattern of development in banana flowers.

Additional Information

Frontiers for Young Minds. 6:60. doi: 10.3389/frym.2018.00060
Language: English
Date: 2018
banana flowers, cultivated banana, hairy banana, kids’ science

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