Ensete glaucum (W. Roxburgh, Hort. Beng. 19 (1814) (nomen), Corom. Pl. t. 300, 96-98
(1819-1820), Flora Indica 2: 490 (1824) (descr.); ibid ed. 2, 1: 669 (1832)) E.
E. Cheesman, Kew Bulletin 2 (2): 101 (1947).
||Ensete glaucum (W. Roxburgh) E. E. Cheesman, Kew
Bulletin 2 (2): 101 (1947).
Musa glauca W. Roxburgh, Hort. Beng. 19 (1814) (nomen),
Corom. Pl. t. 300, 96-98 (1819-1820), Flora Indica 2: 490 (1824) (descr.); ibid
ed. 2, 1: 669 (1832).
2. Musa nepalensis N. Wallich, in W.
Roxburgh, Flora Indica 2: 490 (1824) and ibid. ed. 2 vol. 1: 669 (1832).
troglodytarum L. var. dolioliformis F. M. Blanco, Flora de Filipinas : 855
(1837) [also ed. II : 174 (1845) & ed. III : 312 (1877).]
Musa gigantea C. E. O. Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum
2: 691 (1891).
Musa calosperma F. J. H. von Mueller, Proceedings of
the Linnean Society of New South Wales 10: 355 (1885) and Gardeners' Chronicle series 3,
20: 369 & 467 fig. 85 (1896).
Musa wilsonii W. J. Tutcher, Gardeners' Chronicle series
3, 32: 450 [fig. 151: 451] (1902), & Revue Horticole 34 (1903).
Ensete calospermum (F. J. H. von Mueller) E. E.
Cheesman, Kew Bulletin 2 (2): 102 (1947).
Ensete wilsonii (W. J. Tutcher) E. E. Cheesman, Kew
Bulletin 2 (2): 103 (1947).
Musa agharkarii A. K. Chakravorti, Journal of the
Indian botanical Society 27 (2): 93 (1948).
10. Ensete gigantea (C. E. O. Kuntze) T. Nakai,
Bulletin of the Tokyo Science Museum 22: 12 (1948).
Ensete nepalensis (N. Wallich) E. E. Cheesman, err.
cal. N. W. Simmonds, Kew Bulletin 14 (2): 212 (1960).
Ensete agharkarii (A. K. Chakravorti) D. K. Hore, B. D.
Sharma & G. Pandey, Journal of economic and taxonomic Botany 16 (2): 447-455
for the accepted name are Cheesman 1947a and Simmonds 1960.
Sources of synonymy are as follows:
1. from Cheesman 1947a, Simmonds 1960 and Hara et al 1978.
2. from Hara et al 1978, Hotta 1989 and Flora Xizangica
3. from Merrill's Species Blancoanae (Gerda Rossel).
4 & 10. from Hotta 1989 (but see comments at Musa gigantea)
5, 6, 7 & 8. from Simmonds 1960 (but Flora of China gives E. wilsonii as a
9 & 12. from Rao & Hajra 1976
11. from Hara et al 1978, Hotta 1989, Simmonds 1960 (but see comments at Ensete
(Burma, where the original collection was made by Roxburgh when it was part of India sensu
lato), China, Thailand, Laos, Viet Nam, Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea
(incl. New Ireland, New Britain, New Hebrides) and the Solomon Islands.
glaucous grey-green and waxy, up to 5 m. tall, slightly swollen at the base. Lower
parts of the leaf sheaths not clasping but standing out from the base. Sheaths
glaucous abaxially, pinkish-brown adaxially. Petioles stout, glaucous-green, 10-45
cm. long. Sap watery, turning rusty-orange upon exposure to the air, after which the
colour fades slowly to a dirty grey-black. Leaves grey-green and very waxy.
Bracts ovate(-lanceolate), acute and persistent, the female ones glaucous-green (sometimes
white with wax), the male ones dull-green inside and outside, lifting before withering.
Male bud 3 - 4 times as long as broad, imbricate and conical. Male flowers
white or translucent. Outer perianth 3 times as long as the tepal and divided nearly
to the base into 3 narrow lobes. Free tepal complex, about as long as broad,
consisting of 2 short, largely irregularly dentate lateral lobes enfolding the filaments
and of a narrow central lobe with a slender apiculus. Stamen of the basal flowers
varying from 5 fully formed stamen to 5 filiform staminodes. Stigma large and
3-lobed, both style and stigma persistent. Inflorescence pendulous with densely
packed fruit. Fruits (oblong-)ovoid, yellow or sometimes partly discoloured purple
at maturity, with scanty, faintly pinkish-white pulp, containing 9 - 40 seeds. Seeds
asymmetrically (sub-)globose or smoothly irregular due to pressure in packed fruit, (dull)
black or blackish brown, 9 - 14 mm. in diameter, with a large and depressed hilum.
Habitat: The plants are found growing on slopes, besides streams in India, and in fairly
dry open areas, preferrably grasslands (from sea level to 1600 m. alt.) in Papua New
Guinea (and up to 800 - 1100 m. or even 2700 m. in southern China). The plants relatively
fire-resistent, regenerating from the swollen bases after a bush fire.
(Simmonds 1960, Argent 1976, Rao & Hajra 1976, Li 1978, Nguyen Dang Khoi &
||Argent 1976: 82, Backer 1924, Baker
1893: 209-210, Baker 1894a, Blanco 1845, Chakravorti 1951, Champion
1967: 40, Cheesman 1947a: 101, Desmond 1991, De Wildeman
1912, Fawcett 1913: 266, Flora of
China, Flora Xizangica, GRIN,
Hara et al 1978, Hore et al 1992, Hotta
1989, Howes 1928, IBPGR, Icon. Corm. Sinicorum, Kurz
1877, Le Dinh Danh et al 1998, Li 1978: 56, Li 1981, Mobot Tropicos, Nguyen
Dang Khoi & Valmayor 1995: 4, Quisumbing 1919,
Rao & Hajra 1976: 208-209, Sagot 1887, Sastri 1962, Schumann 1912, Simmonds 1956,
Simmonds 1960: 205, Teodoro
1915, Tutcher 1902: 450, Tutcher
1903, von Mueller 1896.
type of Ensete glaucum, Musa glauca was first collected by
Roxburgh in Burma when it was part of India sensu lato. Despite its
appearance in modern floras of India and of Nepal Ensete glaucum almost certainly
does not occur in these countries as a wild plant. (Possibly it just creeps into
Mizoram, Hore et al 1992). It is however cultivated in north eastern India e.g. in
Kalimpong and some commercial seed originates there.
the plant is said to be strictly monocarpic, an apparently spontaneously suckering
specimen has been reported from Vietnam. Sulpiz Kurz (1877) also noted a suckering
specimen of Musa glauca "in the Botanical Garden of
Java which threw out two shoots, and if accounts are correct, the M. ensete
[Ensete ventricosum] of Africa is said to make many shoots
(I suppose if the whole plant is cut down before flowering)".
Despite its absence from India and Nepal Ensete glaucum occurs over a wide
geographic area. The range may be wider still. According to Simmonds (1960:
208, 212) the flowers of E. glaucum are pure white with white anthers and pollen
except in Javanese material which has a "tinge of yellow on the perianth1".
These characters distinguish E. glaucum from E. ventricosum which
has the perianth tipped with orange-yellow, the anthers violet or purple and the pollen
yellow or greyish. Despite this, Simmonds comments that he can see no reliable
differences between the Asian Ensete glaucum and the African Ensete
ventricosum and speculates that it might prove ultimately to be necessary to reduce
Ensete ventricosum to a synonym of Ensete glaucum which has priority as a
name by some 45 years.
glaucum is just now (2000) being re-introduced to western horticulture and it is to
be hoped that certain provenances may turn out to be reasonably cold tolerant; the plant
occurs at up to 1,000 m. in China and at 800 m. to 1,100 m. in Tibet. Recently, the
Flora of China has separated Ensete glaucum and Ensete wilsonii as
distinct, the botanical differences between them being specified as follows:
glaucum - Pseudostem to 5 m (measured to crown of leaves at maturity);
leaf blade 1.4 - 1.8 m, base cuneate; compound tepal ca. 2.5 cm; fruit obovoid-oblong;
Ensete wilsonii - Pseudostem ca. 1.7 m
(measured to crown of leaves at maturity); leaf blade ca. 3.3 m, base slightly cordate to
truncate; compound tepal ca. 5 cm; fruit trigonous clavate; seeds slightly wrinkled.
Both E. glaucum and E. wilsonii occur in
Yunnan and although the endemic E. wilsonii occurs up to 2,700 m. and E.
glaucum only to 1,100 m. there is considerable altitudinal overlap in their
ranges. There is the possibility for confusion of identity in Chinese Ensete
seed offered commercially. Then again there are some Chinese botanists who hold the
view that E. wilsonii does not exist as a species plants attributed to it being
inseparable from Ensete glaucum.
1 Simmonds cites C. A. Backer (Handboek voor de Flora van
Java (Musaceae) afl. 3: 131, 1924) as the source of the observation that Javanese material
has a "tinge of yellow on the perianth". This is actually a slight
mistranslation of "geelwit", the colour term used by Backer, the English
equivalent of which is ivory-white or creamy-white.
Type: Lectotype: tab. 300 in Roxb., Corom. Pl. 3, 1819 (Argent 1976: 80).
are four images of Ensete glaucum.