The banana takes its name from an Arabic word meaning a "finger". This has to do with its shape and size, as originally bananas were very small.
Banana fruits grow on something which could be mistaken for a tree - in fact, it is a large flowering plant which sprouts out of corm with many roots.
The banana originated 4,000 years B.C. on the Malay Peninsula in Asia. And although Alexander the Great was besotted with their taste, they arrived in Europe quite late. Our ancestors were introduced to bananas only in the middle of the 19th Century.
Bananas are a good source of vitamins C, B1, B2, PP, B6, folic acid and pantothenic acid. They are also rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and fluorine. What's more, they contain fibre and many other valuable substances, such as enzymes, essential oils, malic acid, phytosterols and flavonoids.