Aussies call it the banana bell, but locally, we refer to the bud on the flowering stalk of the banana plant as the heart, or “jantung” in Malay.
Calling it the heart of the plant makes sense, because it is first formed in the corm, then is pushed up through the stem of the plant as it grows and matures. In my mind, I see it as an orderly process, with the leaves growing out one by one, like one of those pencils with stacking leads, all leading up to the emergence of the fruit bud.
Once the entire bud is out, it starts drooping downwards until it’s hanging like a pendulum. That’s when the good stuff starts happening. From the (now) top of the bud, bracts start to lift away from the bud. Each bract contains developing bananas. The female flowers will appear first, and are bigger than the male flowers. The former will go on to develop into fruits while the latter eventually fall off.
I’ve read some online quibbles about whether or not to remove the heart once the fruits are forming. Well, we usually just leave it be (this is not our first banana plant, but as a special “miniature” one, I’ve been observing it more carefully). After all, in nature, it would just stay on the plant. It can also be used as a sign of when to harvest the fruits – it looks small, and I’ve heard will be about 50cm away from the fruits. Yes, I’ll probably measure it this time just to see if this is true…
For now, we’ll wait and watch as the fruits grow.