The Real Reason Bananas Are Technically Berries

In the Garden of Eden, Eve bit into the apple, right? Maybe. 

If Adam and Eve had used Instagram, we wouldn't be asking ourselves this. But here we are. Back in the Middle Ages, when bibles were the most popular book in England, if you asked for an "appel" (or appil or eppel or eappel) you might have wanted the shiny, red fruits that put Snow White to sleep. Then again, you might have been hungering for any, seed-bearing fruit (via Middle English Compendium and NPR). This means that — depending on the flora in the Garden of Eden —  Eve may have bitten into a pear, a peach, or dare we say it, a banana. In fact, some Muslim and Christian traditions think that she did bite a banana (via the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and PBS). (Are fig leaves better to cover naked bodies, or are banana leaves? We'll let you decide).

Even if Eve definitely bit into a banana, it might not be clear what category of fruit she bit into. To state the (seemingly) obvious, bananas are definitely not in the same group as apples. To state the less obvious, in botanical terms, bananas are berries.

Why bananas are berries and watermelons are, too

Your stomach probably doesn't care what bananas are, but science does. And botanically speaking, while all berries are fruits, not all fruits are berries. Why is a banana a berry?  

Simply put, it fits all of the characteristics that botanists have defined. Like other fruits, a berry has three layers: the skin of the fruit, the meat of the fruit, and the part of the fruit closest to the seeds (via McGill Office for Science and Society). But a berry is different from other fruits for two main reasons. First, a berry has to have two or more seeds. Yes, bananas have seeds. Second, berries have to develop from a flower with a single ovary (via Live Science). Watermelons, tomatoes, eggplants, and kiwis, and yes, bananas? They meet all of the requirements to officially be a berry. It's something to think about, the next time you're searching for the perfect berry to make a summer pie. 

So did the snake convince Eve to eat a berry? If Eve really did eat a banana, then yes. But the banana plant produces more than just a berry. As it turns out, the plant itself is an herb related to ginger and cardamom, and its leaves contain a natural narcotic. We can only imagine that these properties would make the fruit from the Forbidden Tree more tempting, still.