What's blooming at Baltimore's Conservatory?
A walk through the lush tropical room at the Baltimore Conservatory in Druid Hill Park, with its towering bananas, provides a warm remedy for your winter doldrums.
Bananas are commonly referred to as trees but are actually classified as an herbaceous plant of the Musaceae family, a group of treelike tropical herbs that are native to Asia.
Large green leaves grow in a spiral stalk giving the impression of a “woody” tree that forms a long stem containing both male and female flowers.
The male flowers grow into a large purple bract while the female clusters grow into fruit with tiers known as hands. Individual bananas are called fingers. There can be up to 20 hands on a single bunch weighing up to nearly 50 pounds.
The word banana comes from the Arabic banan, which means "finger." On the tree fruit can take up to 150 days to ripen.
Photo credit: Michael Lemmon