Hi, this is another area where botanical terminology is actually unclear, although you only realize this when you look at multiple sources. The Kew Plant Glossary, for example, defines "herb" as "plant without a persistent woody stem above ground", so Musa species are "herbs". On the other hand, it defines "herbaceous" as "an annual herb or a herb with annual stems", so Musa species aren't "herbaceous". The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families describes Musa species as "herb. phan." (see e.g. ), and in the definition of this life form says:
- herbaceous phanerophyte (herb. phan.)
- stems: herbaceous and persisting for several years
- buds: above soil-level
- e.g.: Musa balbisiana
- Hi, according to the RHS website, Musa are “evergreen perennials” - meaning they are non-woody plants which retain their leaves throughout winter. I think in British English we tend to reserve “herbaceous” for plants which die down completely in winter, e.g. most bulbs, peonies, etc. etc. Looks like we could have and Anglo-American conflict here. Darorcilmir (talk) 14:06, 7 April 2018 (UTC)
- Further: the RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants defines “herbaceous plant” as “a non-woody plant that dies back (loses top-growth and becomes dormant) at the end of the growing season ... overwintering by means of underground rootstocks.” Hence, as Musa retains its top-growth, it’s not herbaceous by this definition! There are several groups that RHS doesn’t describe as herbaceous - e.g. primulas, heucheras, bergenias. These are all “evergreen perennials”!