Musa acuminata 'Sumatrana'
Musa acuminata L. A. Colla 'Sumatrana' hort.
Accepted name This is too poorly defined to give an accepted name. Synonyms
Eumusa (Musa) 1
Comments In nurserymens catalogues this name is used interchangeably with Musa acuminata 'Rojo', 'Rubra' & 'Zebrina' and with M. zebrina. It is also called the blood or bloodleaf banana.
In the RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths gives Musa acuminata 'Sumatrana' (implying a cultivar) as the correct name of Musa zebrina van Houtte ex Planchon. However, there is no cross reference under Musa acuminata to Musa acuminata 'Sumatrana' but only to Musa sumatrana which is stated possibly to be included with Musa acuminata.
The nomenclature of this plant and its close relatives is particularly confusing and likely to remain so. I do not know if this name is applied to one plant or several. Plants labelled 'Sumatrana' are presumably referable to one of three more or less distinct forms of Musa acuminata in Peninsula Malaysia and Indonesia. These are botanically treated usually as subspecies but sometimes as varieties:
Musa acuminata subsp. malaccensis
Musa acuminata subsp. sumatrana
Musa acuminata subsp. zebrina
"Malaccensis" is not used in horticulture but the names "sumatrana" and "zebrina" are used. Sometimes the names are used as if they were species but given our current level of understanding that is wrong. The names are used sometimes as if they were cultivar names, as here. This is also probably wrong in a formal sense because plants to which the names are applied are probably referable to one or other of the subspecies. However, some plants may indeed be distinct selections worthy of cultivar status (e.g. perhaps 'Bordelon'). Unless and until someone collects all the cultivated 'forms' together in one place and evaluates them side-by-side it is likely not to be possible to determine their true individual status.
See also Musa sumatrana.
last updated 12/11/2007