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The banana "tree" - an imposter

The banana "tree" is a bit of an imposter. This herb is, in fact, the world's tallest grass. A beautiful illustration of the plant Musa x paradisiaca (plantains) by Georg Dionys is featured on Sweden's 2007 souvenir sheet honouring the 300th Anniversary of the birth of botanist Carl Linnaeus (fig. 1). The banana plant lacks the woody trunk and boughs of most fruit trees. It consists largely of leaves that grow up to four meters long. Buds emerge from the centre of the plant, and then, as they grow taller, flower, grow larger and heavier, and finally fall to one side of the plant, weighed down by bunches or "hands" of individual bananas called "fingers." The plant, its flowers and its fruit are depicted on the ten franc denomination from Rwanda's 1987 "Fruit" set (fig. 2). Unlike most of the other fruit in this set (with the exception of the pineapple), bananas are not typically reproduced through seeds from the flowers. They grow from rhizomes that extend underground sending up suckers that become new plants.

Painted Stork Nests

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary Stamp with Painted Storks

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© Derrick Grose, 2021