March 24, 2005

b-mail UPDATED

Here's a really interesting email I received regarding The Secret of Bananas video, (which is now followed up by another reader challenging it.)

Banana battle!

loved the video, very informative.

i did know this fun banana fact already, and i can also tell you why. let me first start by saying that bananas are plant ovaries. yep, in fact, all fruits are plant ovaries. weird, huh? also, anything with seeds is, botanically speaking, a fruit (that means green pepper, cucumbers, pumpkin, etc) "but wait," you say, "bananas don't have seeds." well, yes and no. bananas look like they don't have seeds because human beings don't like to eat around the seeds, and clever beings that we can be, we have horticulturally modified the bananas to have very tiny seeds. (see those tiny black specks on the inside of you banana? ... seeds!)

anyway, back to the banana splitting into three perfect wedges ... bananas have a special kind of ovary that has been modified to be three ovaries in one. (carpels, they're called) it's an evolutionary thing ... if you are a banana, you have much better chance of having offspring that survive if you have three carpels instead of one. anyway, even though the banana now only has one fruit, it still splits along the lines of three individual compartments.



Thanks for the great email! It makes me feel all warm and tingly to know smarty-pants like you enjoy the site.

Since I'm married to a science teacher, I'd like to add my own observation. Now forgive me if I get too technical, but for an ovary-- a banana sure does look a lot like a wiener, don't it?!! It totally does!


Shortly after posting the above email, I received the following one. Hang on folks, GIRL GEEK FIGHT!


i read the e-mail on how bananas have been modified so that they split into three... and i must say that i have to disagree with a point made. bananas are a trisomy, which means...

hang on, i'm going to back this train up a bit. most organisms have a double set of chromosomes, which give us the characteristics that make us who we are. if a person has a monosomy, it means that they are missing a chromosome in their pair of chromosomes. this is what down syndrome is: a monosomy. a trisomy means that an organism has three chromosomes where only two should be. a banana is divided into three because it is a trisomy. when an organism is a trisomy, it's chromosomes get screwed up and the plant or animal can't reproduce. when you look at a banana, you might notice that it has no seeds. this is because it's a trisomy, and it can't create seeds to reproduce itself.

you might then wonder how we have more than one banana tree. by cutting off part of the tree and sticking it in the ground you can grow a whole new banana tree. this is also how people make seedless grapes.

the end.


I don't know what to believe now.

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Posted by Steven | Archive

I once bought a banana shaped exactly like Richard Nixon's head.

Posted by: Samson at March 24, 2005 12:59 PM

This banana talk has appeal, but I'm splitting.

Posted by: golfwidow at March 24, 2005 1:10 PM

golfwidow, UR funny!

...but I don't like bananas. I don't like 'em with ice cream, or even dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts! They are mushy, and don't taste anything like they smell, which is sweet. But they are great as a facial. Yes I know they are good for me. But, yuck. Pass the berries, please.

I minored in biology, so I remember the lecture of how to propigate bananas. Don't remember the one about their ovaries or chomosomes or stuff like that, must have been asleep that afternoon...

Posted by: LL Locke at March 24, 2005 1:17 PM

Bananas have seeds. Cause you can search for banana seeds on ebay (and we all know ebay never lies) And i dont think being a trisomy causes you to split into thirds cause there are fish that eat moss and are trisomy so that they caint reproduce and destroy all the moss; as far as i know you caint split one of those into thirds.

Posted by: someone at March 24, 2005 1:33 PM

the second girl sounds right. i heard a news story on npr that bananas will be extinct in the next 10-15 years because of their inability to reproduce sexually. apparently the current mutated form of bananas that we are so fond of (seedless and sweet) have a genetic flaw that causes their trees to be suceptible to a form of tree disease that is quickly wiping them out, quicker in fact than we are able to graft new ones, and so unfortunately, we will eventually run out of bananas.

upon hearing this story some friends of mine decided to celebrate bananas while we still have them and we threw a banana themed party. find your own way to celebrate!

Posted by: myste at March 24, 2005 1:34 PM

looks like wikipedia agrees with kirsty

Posted by: Mitchell at March 24, 2005 1:48 PM

"inability to reproduce sexually"? Ididn't know any types of fruit could "do it."
If someone can provide a video on THIS it would be much obliged.
Otherwise, I agree with em

Posted by: Wil at March 24, 2005 1:51 PM

The second girl is wrong about one thing: Down's Syndrome isn't caused by monosomy, it's caused by trisomy--specifically trisomy on Chromosome 21.

The bananas we get in grocery stores don't need seeds to reproduce. As far as I know, they're not grown by cutting off part of the plant and planting it in a new spot. Banana trees (which aren't actually trees since their trunks aren't woody) actually produce offshoots from the plant called suckers. But it seems like the original bananas did have large seeds and reproduced sexually.

Bananas are also triploid, not trisomy. Triploid means they have three chromosomes all across the board. Trisomy means that only one set of chromosomes is tripled, all others come in pairs.

Posted by: Candy at March 24, 2005 1:54 PM

i think kirsty's a little confused. first, down syndrome is not a monosomy but is usually caused by a trisomy on chromosome 21. Second, the fact that bananas are triploids explains why they don't have developed seeds, which emc2 rightly points out is due to the years of selective cultivation. But it has nothing to do with how many parts it can be divided into. Humans are diploids, but humans can't be split into two, for example (not as naturally as you can split a banana into three, anyway).
o, and another banana fun fact: banana trees are actually not trees at all. they're considered herbs.

Posted by: chang at March 24, 2005 1:56 PM

Yeah... definitely go with the first email. I'm inclined to believe that one.

Posted by: John at March 24, 2005 2:08 PM

I think we need photos of Em and Kirsty. We need to see which of the two look more nerdy and 'sciencey-like' - this one is likely to be correct... obviously.

Unless they're both really, really hot.

Then they can both be correct as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: nanaman at March 24, 2005 2:12 PM

Ta heck with all this science stuff. All I know is that they taste great and are good with cereal.


Posted by: Jehremy at March 24, 2005 2:19 PM

Uhhhhh...yeah so Steve, do you still have that montage of J-Lo's taudry region (all this crazy banana-sex talk is getting me goin')?

Oh yeah...girl #2 is right. But the truth is that the word banana is derived from the latin word bananae (pronounced vaginae) which literally means, "tricycle."

Posted by: Prof. X M.D. at March 24, 2005 2:24 PM

I don’t know about trisomy vs. monosomy (but, trisomy does sound a lot like three-some-ee, and that DOES sound a lot better than a one-some-ee) But I DO know I spent 3 hours at works trying to find a banana to reproduce the experiment.

Anyone know where I can find a new job...I lost mine.....Cool experiment though.

(Also interested where I can find a three-some-ee, that doesn’t involve bananas)

Posted by: Lokison at March 24, 2005 2:34 PM

15 GET

Hmm. After reading the comments, I'm not really sure whom to believe. Really...the first one is the only 'un that actually explains why the bananas split into three quarters (...waaait) in the first place.

Posted by: Blig at March 24, 2005 2:35 PM

I liked my spider from mars theory better.

Posted by: Kiefo at March 24, 2005 2:49 PM

:( I'll be sad if bananas go extinct. almost as sad as I was when I found out that I could never ride a cow to school because their backs aren't strong enough. But I like the idea of having a banana themed party. I am happy again :)

Posted by: Sarah Perez at March 24, 2005 2:59 PM

banana seeds are inside the peel idiots.

Posted by: d at March 24, 2005 3:24 PM

I don't care which "geek" is right. I have enough trouble forcing myself to eat fruits and veggies without knowing that all fruits are ovaries. ICK! Will the madness never end??

Posted by: Nanc' at March 24, 2005 3:33 PM

Now everyone be nice and don't tell Nanc' where milk and eggs come from...

Posted by: LL Locke at March 24, 2005 3:43 PM

"...bananas will be extinct in the next 10-15 years because of their inability to reproduce sexually."

Forget about Social Security, running out of bananas is a REAL crisis! Seriously, I am distraught.

Our leaders need to do something about this. Now!

Wouldn't it be great if the next election cycle invovles "discussions" on who has the better plan for bananas?

Posted by: casey b at March 24, 2005 4:03 PM

Does Vaginae rhyme with shiney?

Is it vah jine ee or vah jine ay?

Bananas are just plain nasty.

And if Vaginae means tricycle, does this mean everybody gets to ride it?

Posted by: Doc at March 24, 2005 4:08 PM

From my understanding, there's truth to both of the emails. We have screwed bananas up through cultivation and there is something threatening (fungus, I believe). I rather suspect a fungicide of some sort will be developed, though, as a decade is quite a lot of time.

However, many, many plants are polyploid and it doesn't mess them up at all. As I faintly recall from botony, it's a good way to cause mutations and adapt. Because of the way plants are, though, and the fact that they tend to reproduce in really funky ways in the first place (all flowering plants have two forms that reproduce differently, for example), it generally doesn't mess them up.

Posted by: Firebyrd at March 24, 2005 4:15 PM

" I'll be sad if bananas go extinct. almost as sad as I was when I found out that I could never ride a cow to school because their backs aren't strong enough."

YOU CANT RIDE A COW??????? well now my heart is broken :(

(Im going with em on the bannana thing)

Posted by: kathy at March 24, 2005 4:26 PM


The vaginae reference is referring to a previous Sneeze post:

Posted by: Steve at March 24, 2005 5:10 PM

In short: They're both right!

The big, yellow, phallic bananas you buy at the local grocery store are in fact "triploid" (having three sets of chromosomes) and, while they do have little tiny "seeds", the seeds are useless. These bananas cannot reproduce themselves and are cultivated for that exact reason.

However, many other varieties (and "wild" species) are DIPLOID, and DO produce fertile seeds. Oddly these varieties are also phallic to varying degrees, but I think that's just a coincidence.

Perhaps they could make a banana type character the mascot for a new brand of fertility drug... hmm...

Having three sets of chromosomes would not make the banana split into three parts... that's like saying having two sets of chromosomes would make humans grow two heads(though that has happened... ew). Based on that logic I'd lean towards e-mail #1 on that part.

However they are both equally right and wrong about the seeds.

Incidentally, the chance of finding a diploid (fertile) banana from the supermarket is roughly one in a million!

Posted by: Smidge204 at March 24, 2005 5:59 PM

I'm still waiting for the banana porn!
(See post #7)

Posted by: Wil at March 24, 2005 6:34 PM

i'd go with the first email....i think she dumbed it down for us not so smarty pants people....a banana as an ovary? i'm thinking its a metaphor

but hey, that's just my two cents

Posted by: Misty at March 24, 2005 6:37 PM

"YOU CANT RIDE A COW??????? well now my heart is broken :("

Dude, F that, you can totally rided a cow. I mean, they're full of milk, that shit's GREAT for bones.

Seriously, one of the core pillars of my entire belief system is that riding a cow through town, potentially naked, and necessarily drunk would be a fucking sweet thing to do. I don't care how many cows much suffer, I'll never let you take that from me.

I mean really, you can never break a cow, you can just make a steak.

On an off note, they're both right kinda, banannas have seeds, just of the useless, vestigial sort, so they're usually propogated by cuttings and similar seedless methods.

Posted by: Kid Savage at March 24, 2005 6:38 PM

OK, LL Locke who made the third post, I'll pass you the berries but I still might pass you a banana. Bananas being berries.

Posted by: K.etc. at March 24, 2005 7:23 PM

I'm in agreement with Em for the most part, but Kristy is right about the way banana trees grow. I used to grow banana trees in my front yard, and every year the new growths would shoot up all around the base of the original tree. It was annoying, actually.

But seriously, there needs to be a plan to save bananas from extinction. My best friend died from a form of epilepsy that could have been controlled better if he'd only eaten some bananas once in a while (or otherwise upped his potassium intake).

Posted by: nosleep3 at March 24, 2005 7:53 PM

"I think we need photos of Em and Kirsty. We need to see which of the two look more nerdy and 'sciencey-like' - this one is likely to be correct... obviously."

go here to see how nerdy and science-like i look and judge for yourself:

also, i have sent steve an update in my own defense (and pointing out kirsty's somewhat misinformed ramblings). i am hoping he will post it for all to see, but if he doesn't, look for it here by the weekend.

Posted by: em at March 24, 2005 8:25 PM

K.etc., I'll take that banana, and cook it up with a bit of butter and rum, and serve it to ya over pound cake, or vanilla bean ice cream. But I ain't eatin' it. And you're right, as Mitchelle helped to point out, via wikipedia, a banana is a false berry, which means it really is:

" accessory fruit created in certain plant species with an inferior ovary. In these species the floral tube (including the basal parts of the sepals, petals, and stamens) can ripen along with the ovary, forming the false berry. Included in this category are banana, squash fruits like cucumber, squash, watermelon, and pumpkin, currant, cranberry, blueberry, gooseberry, and muskmelon."

Posted by: LL Locke at March 24, 2005 9:29 PM

I never knew that such a little thing like a freakin' banana could cause so much controversy. And for the most part, what I'm really wondering is, why does anyone care? Bananas are nummy. Whether they can get their groove on, or are limp sad little things, doesn't really concern me.

By the way, I'm a sad little monkey, my computer won't download the video. (My internet connection blows the big one.)

Posted by: Serpentia at March 24, 2005 11:17 PM

What's really got ME mind-blown is that so many people are repeatedly misspelling "banana", that this blog seems to attract a lot of apparently drunk people, and that I've actually waded through and read every single last little bit of it.

But I can't get the frikkin' video to play, and I won't give in and use IE. Firefox only. PLLLTHH!

Indeed, t'would be suckalicious if bananas went extinct - but now my husband can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that our son is straight because, hey, you are what you eat.

Posted by: Lilith70 at March 25, 2005 12:21 AM

The video should work with Firefox as long as you have the Flash plug-in.

Posted by: Steve at March 25, 2005 1:13 AM

I happened across this debate because I used to work with Em, the one who sent the first one. I don't know jack about bananas, except they are yummy, and rich in K. I do know that she's a brilliant, passionate botanist, and would be the first to say, "I'm not sure, but I'll find out.." So if she sounds sure of what she says, I'd wager my life she knows of what she speaks. If my name were Steve, and she told me not to eat it, no matter what the dare, I'd run like hell.

Also, she's smoking hot, but married. She's in this photo, but I won't say who. I wouldn't kick any of them out of bed. Until someone produces a photo of kirsty, I say Em wins by good-looking-smart-chick-default.

Here's the post that got me here, if you're really that curious.

Posted by: hal at March 25, 2005 3:08 AM

oh and besides, wikipedia is a work in progress...

Posted by: hal at March 25, 2005 3:09 AM

If bananas were from Spain or Mexico originally, would they be known as bañanas (pronounced banYANas)?

Posted by: dUc0N at March 25, 2005 3:34 AM

I learned about this little secret years ago while watching an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy. I don't remember the particulars of why it forms into thirds, but now every bite I take of a banana, I’ll poking my tongue through the center so the piece will split into thirds.

Posted by: WingNut at March 25, 2005 5:03 AM

Well, I actually understand the trisomy thing, but would bananas have continued to have this mutation throughout their growing life? I don't know. All I know is that splitting them in three is really friggen cool. Hey, I'm a teenager. What do you want from me?

Posted by: Julianne at March 25, 2005 6:12 AM

I don't know about all this science talk, but I do know that the girl in the Secret of Bananas picture looks much to young to be riding a big a banana, and unless you want Michael Jackson to start hanging around the site, you might want to do something about that!

Well never mind. It's a girl anyway. He isn't going to be interested in that.

Posted by: azlbrax at March 25, 2005 6:37 AM

I've ridden a cow before. I don't weigh all that much, either. But she mooooooed a lot though. I hope i didn't hurt her!!

Posted by: emily at March 25, 2005 6:59 AM

just to let everyone know, i haven't meant to shoot down em. i agree a lot with what she's said, i wrote the e-mail in mostly because i'd heard something different and i was slightly confused with the contradictions. also, thank you to those who have pointed out my mistakes: bananas are triploid, not a trisomy. and down syndrome is also known as trisomy 21, so i have know idea why i put down monosomy. thanks again

Posted by: kirsty at March 25, 2005 7:08 AM

Yea?! Well my banana is bigger!

Posted by: TalismanJack at March 25, 2005 7:24 AM

Here's an alternate for those who are tired of debating about bananas.

Corn is a grass. And without human intervention, corn as we know it would quickly become extinct.

Posted by: Keith at March 25, 2005 7:40 AM

Steve, you should do a topic on Vaginae like you did for Caramel. That would be good.

Also, does anyone know if this tree fungus that is killing off the banana populus happens to look like a gigantic brain? If so, these tree's are smart. Going right after our hearts by taking out our banana's first. Next will be orange's...those BASTARDS!

Posted by: Jay at March 25, 2005 7:47 AM

That would be a good article, especially since that word is used so often by people from all over.

Posted by: Victoria at March 25, 2005 9:33 AM

I actually did a bit of researching for the 'bananas going extinct' thing a while back....I think it was/is because there is a banana famine going around (like the Irish potato famine!) and if we TAKE GOOD CARE OF THEM the bananas should still be around.

Posted by: keelay at March 25, 2005 9:55 AM

I don't know anything about bananas except that if you peel them like a monkey (start at the opposite end of the stem) its much easeir to open it. I'm not sure if that's because there are more hinges in the peel on that side or less rebar, but it works!

Posted by: butthead at March 25, 2005 10:09 AM

You can ride a water buffalo, which is a like a cow. You want to sit on their shoulders almost, instead of the middle of the back like a horse. Then it doesn't hurt them as much.

Posted by: shirky at March 25, 2005 10:45 AM

I highly doubt any food would "go extinct". We'd selectively breed the resistant ones or engineer them ourselves to be resisitant, as we have for other stuff in the past.

In regards to fruit sexually reproducing, it's the birds and the bees - pollination from the flowers of one tree to those of the next. There are such things as male and female trees, and if you want an orchard you need more than one tree.

Seedless varieties, I recall, are indeed propagated by grafting (take a seedless grape vine branch, lop it off, stick it on the base of a sturdy seeded grape vine, wait til it grows bigger and repeat). I don't think you can grow a new banana tree by simply sticking it in the ground and watering, as that usually only works for very soft plants like that bachelor green houseplant I've multiplied into an army.

Posted by: wookiee at March 25, 2005 10:57 AM

bananas are evil. I can't give you any proof of this, because they're a crafty bunch, those bananas. They keep taking my proof! anyway. they're evil, and they know it.

Posted by: dee at March 25, 2005 11:20 AM

Bananas are gross.

Posted by: Colin's hot sister at March 25, 2005 11:29 AM

Wookiee: I think the point is that since they are sterile and can only be asexually reproduced, then we can't selectively breed for anything. Also, since all bananas have the same genetic material, a disease that can wipe out one tree will not have to adapt at all to wipe out a different one.

We could bio-engineer one I suppose. Or we could also probably take wild bananas (with yucky seeds) and breed those to be sterile and seedless. I bet they would taste different though.

Posted by: paul at March 25, 2005 11:37 AM

must concur w/hal, few posts back, em is a friend of mine as well, and she's bangin' fine!!! plus, she's real smart & stuff, and smokin' hot!!! oh yeah, already said something to that effect already, didn't I?

And yeah, bananas are kewl.

Posted by: Dave at March 25, 2005 11:52 AM

Well I just thought I'd share this info I got in email yesterday and since I got it in email I'm sure it is all true. So here are some ....

Interesting Facts About Bananas. We need to stock up on Bananas! After reading this, you'll NEVER look at a banana in the same way again!!

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber, a banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression:According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND, among people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana.This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS:Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia:High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure:This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power:200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert..

Constipation:High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers:One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn:Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites:Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves:Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight:Studies at the Instituteof Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The re port concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers:The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control:Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. InThailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool! temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer, tryptophan.

Smoking:Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress:Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes:According to research in "The New England Journal of Medicine,"eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of having a stroke much as 40%!

Warts:Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apples it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"

Now tons of most likely useless info on bananas... yeah I know it has nothing to do with the tri-splitting post this all began with .... so shoot me!

Posted by: Lillie at March 25, 2005 12:18 PM

Do they cure boredom? That was a long post. :)

Posted by: Steve at March 25, 2005 12:27 PM

You have a witness for the wart cure, Lillie: I tried it years ago, after an off again, on again bout with a pesky wart on my left palm. The well advertised, over the counter cure only burns, but the banana skin worked! And I only had to use it once--a few days later, no more wart. And, I have never had a wart since!

But I still don't like the taste of 'em. I'll eat banana bread, and banana creme pie (as long as there are NO chunks of the offending naner in it!). I have been known to be on my best behavior when I have a smoothie w/banana, but it has to have PLENTY of other goodies in it to mask the flavor/banana consistancy. But that is infrequent. Potassium supplements are fine by me! :)

Posted by: LL Locke at March 25, 2005 12:39 PM

Wow, you start a banana conversation and the ladies get all excited!

Does anyone else find all these ladies talking about bananas strangely arousing?

Posted by: NannerKing! at March 25, 2005 2:04 PM

"You can ride a water buffalo, which is a like a cow. You want to sit on their shoulders almost, instead of the middle of the back like a horse. Then it doesn't hurt them as much."

Actually you shouldn't sit on the middle of a horse's back, either. You want the saddle or yourself, if you're riding bareback, to be pretty close to the shoulders.

Which has nothing to do with bananas.

Posted by: nanana at March 25, 2005 3:04 PM

This is a very serious and interesting question. I think when Congress and the Supreme Court are done worrying about Florida "vegetables" they should take up this pressing issue right away.

PS: Em is right. Bananas are not sterile. They carry all sorts of molds, bacteria, and even arachnids. Didn't you ever hear the Bannana Boat Song?

Posted by: Bubba at March 25, 2005 3:09 PM

Well, I don't know much about all this science crap, however, I DO know that bananas DO have sex. Usually it involves lube and a horny lonely woman but...

Posted by: HornyGirl at March 25, 2005 3:10 PM

Bananas are not going extinct. The NPR story is wrong. Most of the worlds bananas are owned by the Dole Pinapple company, which, as everyone knows, is owned by former Senator Bob Dole. All the anti-banana stories we hear in the news today are part of the liberal media's bias against republicans.

Reportedly, Bob Dole himself hates bananas because they are really hard to peel with a bum arm. That doesn't stop him from cashing the checks, though.

Posted by: Jergle at March 25, 2005 3:14 PM

Something else I just noticed. Aparently Kristy thinks you make seedless grapes by cutting a piece off a banana tree and sticking it in the ground. Now I KNOW that's not true.

Posted by: jergle at March 25, 2005 3:21 PM

That's right, jergle. Grandpa taught us that you have to go to the grocery store and buy a box of Grape Nuts. You plant the Grape Nuts by the light of the new moon, the first new moon after the last day of frost. Soon, little grape plants begin to grow....

Posted by: LL Locke at March 25, 2005 3:43 PM

As far as I know, bananas reproduce through mitoses, like strawberries and potatoes.

Posted by: Liz at March 25, 2005 4:37 PM

All I know is that I'm really allergic to bananas...

Posted by: Jen at March 25, 2005 4:40 PM

Am I the only one who's noticed how much fun it is to type the word Banana?
A very fun word to type.
So much so, I'm going to type it again.

Posted by: Jen at March 25, 2005 4:42 PM

more on bananas

Posted by: Guy Diddley at March 25, 2005 4:48 PM

Hey Jen --

It's great to know that even though you are allergic to bananas, you can still get so much enjoyment out of typing "banana."


In case all you curious, banana-crazy folks are interested in where this whole banana-reproduction-extinction/cow-riding debate began, here is my perspective:

Posted by: em at March 25, 2005 5:02 PM

An ode to the banana:

Posted by: LL Locke at March 25, 2005 8:23 PM

Hey, I was wondering. If bulls and cows are the same thing, how come you can ride a bull but not a cow? I mean, does being a male make the back of the animal that much stronger? This concerns me.

And look at the differences between the build of the cow and the build of a horse. The cow certainly LOOKs much sturdier.

It just doesn't make a lot of sense. (sighs) Oh well, I'm gonna get back to eattin my nummy nanners!

Posted by: Serpentia at March 25, 2005 8:49 PM

"As far as I know, bananas reproduce through mitoses, like strawberries and potatoes."

Fruits dont reproduce by mitosis.... your not going to set a bannan down on your kitchen table and a few moments later have another one divide its self from it (yes i know i was exagerating) Only bacteria and a few protist reproduce by mistosis; multicelled organisms like bannans can not.

Posted by: someone at March 25, 2005 9:18 PM

Oranges can be split into ten sections, but they sure as hell aren't decaploidal mutants. See the following Wikipedia articles.

Posted by: gmfbrown at March 25, 2005 9:39 PM


Posted by: Derrick at March 25, 2005 11:54 PM

Banana daiquiri anyone?

Posted by: Serpentia at March 26, 2005 3:10 AM

Yes! Great idea ... sign me up for a couple of those, Serpentia ... extra rum!

Posted by: em at March 26, 2005 4:52 AM

Ummmm no apparently that post doesn't help boredom and it wasn't intended to do so... But I have to admit this site sure helps mine a lot! I just couldn't resist sending an email that was so perfectly timed with my reading this post! I knew you would love it! Am I right? Or am I RIGHT! Yeah I'm SOOOOO RIGHT!

Posted by: Lillie at March 26, 2005 6:48 AM

I'm fairly sure the splitting into three pieces is because bananas are monocots. Monocots typically have features that divide into multiples of threes (petals, leaves, etc.) whereas dicots divide into multiples of four or five.


A little quality time with google does suggest that bananas are indeed monocots (something I didn't know off hand). This is likely the reason. I think this fact makes Em's and Kirsty's arguments unrelated to your tri-splitting discovery.


Posted by: Will at March 26, 2005 6:53 AM

Well, a trisomy is where threre is an extra chromosome ina homologous pair.

Down syndrome results from a trisomy of chromosome pair 21 in humans.

Posted by: Tom at March 26, 2005 10:20 AM

"ruits dont reproduce by mitosis.... your not going to set a bannan down on your kitchen table and a few moments later have another one divide its self from it (yes i know i was exagerating) Only bacteria and a few protist reproduce by mistosis; multicelled organisms like bannans can not." have no idea what you are talking about.

Bacteria divide through binary fission.

Protists reproduce by partially fusing. Each nucleus then divides through meiosis, forming 8 haploid nuclei. 6 then degenerate, and 1 from each cell is left. These then divide through mitosis, and switch cells. The nuclei then fuse, forming a diploid micronucleus. That micronucleus divides through mitosis three times, making 8 identical micronuclei. 4 develop into macronuclei by undergoing DNA replication. The other 4 remain micronuclei. Then, two cell divisions take place, resulting in 4 new cells...

Posted by: Tom at March 26, 2005 10:42 AM

...each from 1 conjugate cell.

Plants have a more complex reproductive life cycle.

A haploid, multicellular organism (gametophyte) produces gametes through mitosis. The gametes are then fertilized, creating a diploid zygote. The zygote then divides through mitosis, resulting in a diploid, multicellular organism (Sporophyte). The sporophyte then creates haploid spores through meiosis. The spores find a place to live, and grow into a gametophyte through mitosis.

Posted by: Tom at March 26, 2005 10:51 AM


You mean the sex chromosomes?? You too, obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

Posted by: Tom at March 26, 2005 10:52 AM

Tom: Good job. I think you could definitely pass Biol 108. Keep up the good work. You even got the sporophyte/gametophyte thing down. I'm so pleased.

Now, as for Will, he is not as high up on my list because he said this: "I'm fairly sure the splitting into three pieces is because bananas are monocots. Monocots typically have features that divide into multiples of threes (petals, leaves, etc.) whereas dicots divide into multiples of four or five."

Okay, Will, let me just say that you are full of crap. Sorry. You are right about one thing, though. Typically, monocots have *floral* parts that exist in multiples of three and dicots usually have floral parts that are in multiples of fours or fives. However, this does not apply to leaves as you stated, nor does it have anything at all to do with how many pieces the fruit divides into. I already explained this. Sheesh!

Posted by: em at March 26, 2005 11:20 AM

Steve! I see a new Steve, Don't Eat That in there... As a conclusion to the banana saga... eat a banana peel...

Posted by: Austin at March 26, 2005 11:21 AM

Maybe not such a great idea. My friends and I used to throw the whole peel in with the banana in our smoothies, as well as the green leaves on the strawberries, until my mom told me that banana peels are poisonous. This may or may not be true, but I'd suggest doing some research into it before eating one.

And just a note to a few posters:
If you happen to notice that two people are "wrong", it may be beneficial to do some research into a certain syndrome before posting in all caps that they are wrong. Irony of ironies, you may be wrong yourself.

Posted by: Victoria at March 26, 2005 1:42 PM

geeze! em is foaming at the mouth with spite! she might've been correct about the whole banana thing, but kirsty's way nicer. so, em, you suck.

Posted by: chang at March 26, 2005 1:58 PM

...but how about smokin' that banana peel? In the microwave, until it turns into a chunk of black gold. C'mon, whaddaya say?

Posted by: naner soup at March 26, 2005 2:39 PM

Yeah, then maybe you could sell that on E-Bay and see if the Chicita people will buy you a new microwave. Hey, how is it comin' with the Orville Redenbocker people???

Posted by: Serpentia at March 26, 2005 4:29 PM

CAndy's right about the triploid thing

Posted by: seymour bibbons at March 26, 2005 4:51 PM

Bananas have Klinefelter's? That's very sad. In light of this new information, I don't think it's fair or PC for ANY of us to say that we don't like bananas. It's not their fault - it's genetic.

Posted by: momsoops at March 26, 2005 7:04 PM

To Em:

In regards to the leaves, I was rembering from this article:

Right or wrong, I can't say.

As for the fruits, I was under the impression that the fruit is what develops from the flower of the plant--the female reproductive organs of the plant. See the first paragraph of this section:

For the record, you don't have to exclaim I'm "full of crap." Unlike some here, I'm not claiming to be a biology expert--just wagering a guess.


Posted by: Will at March 26, 2005 9:28 PM

Those crazy grape trees!

Posted by: Gemini6Ice at March 27, 2005 2:05 AM

In answer to Serpentia's question: "If bulls and cows are the same thing, how come you can ride a bull but not a cow?"

'Cos they're easier to steer.

Posted by: golfwidow again at March 27, 2005 6:19 AM

The local ice cream shop here sells bananas on a stick dipped in chocolate ice cream then rolled with crushed nuts.

They call it: BANANA DIP DIP, really

My wife and daughters refuse to sit with me when I order that, and I admit I look kinda sheepish eating it. I don't care.

Posted by: bananadipdip at March 27, 2005 6:43 AM

"... eat a banana peel..."

Actually, banana peels are edible, but you need to cook them first. Here's one way:

Cook some lentil flour in a bit of vegetable oil, season with salt and chili powder. Mix in diced banana peel. Takes a few minutes to cook. The result looks messy, but very tasty. Goes with bread or chapati.

Posted by: bananadipdip at March 27, 2005 7:28 AM

will: please don't be so sensitive. i'm sorry that i said you were "full of crap," i guess i was just getting into the moment. i don't claim to be a biology expert either; i just happen to have learned a couple plant facts along the way.

to chang: nothing like a hypocrit to point out my perceived faults. you say i suck and that kristy is way nicer, but you do this by being mean and insulting me. nice. in case you didn't read steve's intro to my follow-up e-mails, everything is cool with kristy and me now. those were just posted because the moderater found them amusing. i suggest you, too, try to see the humor and don't take small things so seriously. it's too bad you think i'm mean ... because i'm really not.

Posted by: em at March 27, 2005 10:55 AM

Damn EM, You Rock!

Posted by: Lokison at March 27, 2005 10:59 AM

PS Chang, i am not spiteful toward anyone.

and will, I looked up that leaf thing and it does indeed say that leaves are split into threes for mono- and 4-5 for di-cots, which is bizare, because I can think of very few examples of that. oaks are dicots, their leaves come of the stem one at a time; maples are dicots, their leaves come off the stem two at a time; corn plants are monocots, their leaves sheath the stem but still come off one at a time ... weird ... at least you backed yourself up.

Posted by: em at March 27, 2005 11:03 AM

I had no idea bananas were such a heated topic. Remind me not to bring this up during Easter dinner.

Posted by: sphinx at March 27, 2005 11:49 AM

:) This is rather ridiculous...A whole 100+ comments about bananas...

Posted by: TOm at March 27, 2005 4:28 PM

Golfwidow: YOU RULE! That was too cute! LoL

Posted by: Serpentia at March 27, 2005 6:31 PM

I haven't read any of this, but has anyone else noticed that Steve spells "weiner" as "wiener?"

Posted by: Gregg at March 28, 2005 12:37 AM

Main Entry: wie·ner
Pronunciation: 'wE-n&r, 'wE-nE also 'wi-nE
Function: noun
Etymology: short for wienerwurst
Date: 1900

Here's the listing for "weiner":
Main Entry: wei·ner
variant of wiener
(see: gregg)

Posted by: Steve at March 28, 2005 1:45 AM

Nein! Ihre briefe sind im falschen auftrag!


Posted by: Smidge204 at March 28, 2005 5:40 AM

That crazy Steve-O kid from Jackass has "I am a weiner" tattoed on one of his arms. It nicely verifies his point!
Also: someone was asking for Banana Porn some 100 posts back, so here:

"Banana has 1000 galleries"

Posted by: Doktor Florian at March 28, 2005 5:47 AM

My eyes have been opened, angry cussing science chicks are so HAWT!

Posted by: E at March 28, 2005 7:17 AM

I emailed a professor of botany here at my school (Georgia Tech) asking him what the deal was. In short, you and I are both right. You're right in that it has a 3-chambered carpel, and I'm right because it wouldn't have the 3-chambered carpel if it weren't a monocot. Though I'm pretty sure you're correct that it was bred specifically to have small seeds, I don't think that's relevant to its 3-chamberedness.

I forwarded the professor's response to Steve in case he's interested in posting it. But that's the deal. From a guy with three botany degrees, so I believe him.


Posted by: Will at March 28, 2005 7:38 AM

Oh, that last bit of the first pargraph is directed to Em.


Posted by: Will at March 28, 2005 7:39 AM

@someone: I wasn't sure if bananas reproduce through mitosis, but I know for a fact that strawberries and potatoes do.

Posted by: Liz at March 28, 2005 8:32 AM

oh, LL Locke. Bananas are nummy nummy. When will you see the light?? :) They're very sweet and not mushy if you eat them when they still have a touch of green about them. I hate them too, when they're yellow and mushy and starchy. Blech. I won't eat a banana that's not a little green. So I do understand your hatred.

But don't knock the banana as not sweet. It's an oralgasmic experience if that sucker's almost-ripe. Ok, maybe not quite that good, but still. Especially dipped in chocolate and rolled in peanuts. Or in a banana split. mmmm...

But none of this explains why that pioneering music group/television presence of the late 60s/early 70s, The Banana Splits, had four members. I'm so confused.

Posted by: butterstar at March 28, 2005 9:09 AM


A Touch of Green?? Really??? See I did not know that...
Well, I'll give it (another) try, certainly I am open to the whole banana experience, just because it has been bad doesn't mean it HAS to stay that way...

Maybe a good banana experience will have me singing:

Tra la la
La la la la!
Tra la la
La la la la!


Posted by: LL Locke at March 28, 2005 9:39 AM

Bulls are male cows.
Roosters are male chickens.
Bananas are male vaginaes.

P.S.: I'm smarter than you are and I need to announce it on this comment board to prove it. =P

Posted by: Stumpy at March 28, 2005 11:33 AM

Vaginae is already the plural. There's no need to pluralize it again.

Posted by: Steve at March 28, 2005 12:11 PM

So.. if bananas have a trisomy going on.. and down syndrome people have a trisomy going on.. and you can split bananas in three even pieces.. does that mean..

nah. nevermind.

Posted by: Jake Pavlish at March 29, 2005 7:46 AM

I never thought I'd hear a man say there's no need to pluralize vaginae!

And Jake P...that's just wrong.

Posted by: momsoops at March 29, 2005 9:41 AM

Christ its a frigging bannana, just eat it!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Rachel at March 29, 2005 3:24 PM

This is the coolest new story involving a banana, you guys have to read it:

Posted by: Serpentia at March 29, 2005 5:52 PM

I seriously knew that when i was like two. i used to split my banana and eat a tird at a time.

Posted by: Charli at March 30, 2005 4:46 PM

"I seriously knew that when i was like two. i used to split my banana and eat a tird at a time."

What's a tird?

Posted by: Serpentia at March 31, 2005 11:54 PM

This is even better than when we had the bidet discussion!

Posted by: nosleep3 at April 4, 2005 4:03 PM

Wow! the banana discussion was quite a trip.
Thanks! Em you go girl...Love Mom

Posted by: Ginger at April 4, 2005 8:38 PM

I'm late to the party, but surprised no one mentioned bananarama in all of this, so thought I would mention it.

Posted by: xzilla at April 5, 2005 2:21 PM

I just scanned the thread, but I didn't see Banana Republic mentioned either. So there.

Posted by: stinkyboy at April 6, 2005 11:14 AM

Has anyone seen The Gods Must be Crazy 1 when there in the banana plantation? Funny movie.

Posted by: Cratz at April 6, 2005 6:33 PM

I saw that movie...the one with the Coca Cola bottle that the little guy wanted to return to the Gods because it was causing so much havoc among the tribe? hee-hee and he tried to throw it back up to the Gods but they (the Gods) threw it back down (gravity) and it hit one of the women in the head - hee-hee! It was funny - but I don't remember a banana plantation, so I can't laugh with you on that one! :( But thanks for reminding me of that movie - I haven't seen it in AGES!

Posted by: momsoops at April 6, 2005 7:19 PM