All kinds of delicious fruit are grown on trees like apples, oranges, pears, cherries, and more. Among the world’s most popular fruit, you won’t won’t find the banana hanging from a tree.
While we might casually say bananas grow on a banana tree and in pop culture it might be called a banana tree (such as in the 1960s pop hit Yellow Bird, Up High in Banana Tree), the banana tree, which bears a resemblance to a very stocky palm tree, isn’t a tree at all. The stocky trunk isn’t truly a woody trunk but a pseudostem.
Despite its tall stature, the banana plant is actually a herbaceous flowering plant and the bananas it produces are berries. Despite being a berry, it’s nearly impossible to locate the seeds in modern bananas because—unlike their tough, seed laden, and nearly inedible wild-growing distant relatives—they’ve been carefully and selectively bred over time to reduce the seeds to tiny specs within the greater fruit.
Deep in Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. state of Wyoming, you’ll find a small lake that looks, in every way, wholly unremarkable. The small body of water, Isa Lake, looks more or less like just about every other temperate forest inland lake in the United States. It’s modest in size, has a pleasant backdrop of woodland scenery behind it, and is covered in lily pads with banks packed tight with plants–at first glance, there is truly nothing unusual about it.
If, however, you examine the drainage pattern of the lake, you find something pretty remarkable. By the pure chance of sitting directly upon the continental divide at an elevation of 8,262 feet, Isa Lake drains into creek and river systems on each side of the divide like water pouring down the peak of a roof. The river systems it drains into manages, over the course of thousands of miles, to flow all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and into the Atlantic Ocean and, simultaneously, down the opposite slope of the continental divide all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Rain falling upon Isa Lake, then, has just as much chance to end up in the Pacific Ocean as it does in the Atlantic Ocean. Isa Lake is the only known example in the world of a naturally occurring bifurcated lake that drains into two separate oceans. The only other known example of a multi-ocean bifurcated lake is the man-made Gatun Lake, created during the construction of the Panama Canal.