The Life Cycle of a Banana Tree

Updated July 20, 2017

Bananas originated in the regions of Maylasia. It wasn't until the 1500s, however, that the banana was given its name. This fruit was first called "banan," after the Arabic word for "finger," which was the size of the fruit at that time.


Banana plants grow from very large rootstocks. After about nine months, they reach their mature height of 15 to 30 feet. The stems, about 12 inches thick, grow flower shoots, which produce bananas.

Growth of Fruit

Bananas grow in bunches, with each bunch producing about 15 hands. Each hand has about 20 bananas. They take about three months to reach maturity, when they're ready for harvesting.


Bananas must be harvested when green -- because if they're harvested too early, their consistency will be dry and stringy, and the flavour won't be as sweet.


After each cycle of producing fruit, the banana tree dies and produces new rootstocks. The new rootstocks then grow a new banana plant. This process continues for several decades.

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About the Author

Kaye Nemec has been a freelance writer and editor since 2009. Her articles can be found on the Broken Secrets website. Nemec has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and technical/professional writing from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.