I’ve always loved bananas. Growing up, they were part of my school lunch almost every day. As you probably know, most cafeteria fruits are simply terrible. The apples are the gross kind with wax on the skin, and the bananas are almost always green. Little Claire Bear (that’s me) wasn’t a picky eater though, and I’d dutifully munch my way through my slightly green banana.

But no matter how hungry I was, I never—and I mean never—ate the little black thing at the end of the banana. Why? Because it was an unspoken rule among children that the black tip of a banana should be avoided like the plague. Death would surely result from ingesting it, or some other unspeakable horror.

shellfish, banana
Claire Waggoner

While eating my routine bowl of yogurt and fruit the other day, I noticed that I still make a point to cut off the black tip of a banana once I’ve sliced up the rest of the fruit. I stood for a moment just looking at the banana in my hand, wondering if today was the day I’d be brave enough to eat that little black bit. Alas, it was not to be, and without another thought I chucked the peel in the bin.

Why is it that no one eats the black bit, and what in the world is it? Like any industrious writer, I took to the internet to solve this mystery. According to Urban Dictionary, the black tip of the banana is called the “bananus,” otherwise known as “the little brown part at the bottom of a banana that no one in their right mind eats.” Hmm…that won’t do for an answer. 

As I continued my search to discover what the heck that stupid black tip is, I was dismayed to find out that no one really knows. Even more frustrating, there appear to be no credible sources online that can confirm or deny what the black thing at the end of a banana is.

vegetable, banana
Delissa Handoko

Reddit was surprisingly the most helpful source of information. One user said the black tip is the seed of the banana plant, while another claimed it’s the banana’s undeveloped parasitic twin—awesome. 

On Yahoo answers, one guy said the black tip is actually a bug, which most users disagreed with. One mother said that we should eat the black tip because it’s “filled with potassium.” Right, except that the whole banana is filled with potassium, so will throwing away the black bit affect me that much? I think not. Whatever the black tip at the end of a banana is, most people on the internet agree that it’s a bit chewy and bitter.

On that note, I’d like to officially give you my blessing to continue throwing it out. Go forth and prosper anxious banana connoisseurs, and rest easy with the knowledge that everyone is as confused as you are about the stupid black thing at the end of a banana.