Ensete elephantorum (K. M. Schumann & O. Warburgex K. M. Schumann in A. Engler et al (eds.) Das Pflanzenreich. Engelmann, Leipzig, 1900 - . 4, 45 : 14 (1912)) E. E. Cheesman, Kew Bulletin 2 (2): 102 (1947).
Accepted name none - rejected based on type being reduced to nomen dubium. Synonyms Musa elephantorum K. M. Schumann & O. Warburg ex K. M. Schumann in A. Engler et al (eds.) Das Pflanzenreich. Engelmann, Leipzig, 1900 - . 4, 45 : 14 (1912). Authorities The authorities for rejecting the name are Baker & Simmonds 1953 as corrected (please see link below) and Koechlin 1965.
However, the World Checklist of Monocotyledons Ensete elephantorum (K.Schum. & Warb.) Cheesman, Kew Bull. 2: 102 (1947 publ. 1948) (synonym Musa elephantorum K.Schum. & Warb. in H.G.A.Engler (ed.), Pflanzenr., IV, 45: 14 (1900)) as a synonym of Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman, Kew Bull. 2: 101 (1947 publ. 1948) which is given as the accepted name.
Distribution Cameroon (Mt. Febeu, near Yaounde). Description See Musa elephantorum for a description of the type. References Baker & Simmonds 1953 : 409, Champion 1967: 40, Cheesman 1947a 102, Koechlin 1965 : 12. Comments Cheesman created Ensete elephantorum as a new combination (number 10 out of 25) in a brief note in his 1947 paper reviving the genus Ensete. Cheesman revived one and created 24 Ensete species in that paper but acknowledged that field study might reveal synonymy. However, Baker & Simmonds consider instead that the name must be rejected based on the type being regarded as nomen dubium. They point out that the determination of Musa elephantorum was based on a poor description and the type specimen in the Berlin Herbarium was destroyed in WWII preventing modern assessment.
Based on recollection of material from the type locality in Cameroon Koechlin speculates that the type might actually be attributable to E. gilletii although he too treats it as nomen dubium. "Malgré la récolte de matériel recent dans la localité-type de M. elephantorum K. Schum. et Warb., matériel qui, si l'on suit la révision de Baker et Simmonds, est tout a fait conspécifique de E. gilletii, un doute subsiste sur l'identité exacte de M. elephantorum: le type (Zenker s.n., Yaunde Station, Berg Boukollo im Grasfelde an Abhaengen, B) est detruit, et la description, très insuffisante, fait état de caractères surprenantes (inflorescence dressée). Nous considerons donc, comme Baker et Simmonds, ce nom (prioritaire sur M. gilletii, mais lui-même précéde de deux synonymes possibles, plus anciens mais également douteux), comme nomen dubium."
The erect inflorescence must have been due to some environmental stress, it is not a typical characteristic of any known Ensete.
If the type had been properly described the combination Ensete elephantorum would have had priority over Ensete gilletii although Ensete religiosum, the type of which was also published in 1900 would also have had a claim in similar circumstances.
last updated 24/11/2007