Musa beccarii

Musa beccarii N. W. Simmonds, Kew Bulletin 14 (2): 198 - 212 (1960).

Accepted name Musa beccarii N. W. Simmonds, Kew Bulletin 14 (2): 198 - 212 (1960).
Authorities Simmonds 1960.

The World Checklist of Monocotyledons lists Musa beccarii N. W. Simmonds, Kew Bull. 14: 200 (1960) as an accepted name.

Section Callimusa
Distribution East Malaysia, Sabah.
Description "Plants small, the pseudostems [1 - 1.5 m.] tall, freely suckering ; juice watery ; sheaths bright green, devoid of wax, somewhat polished, tinged with brownish-purple at the edges ; petioles up to 35 cm. long, tightly clasping below, with erect or slightly incurved, narrowly purple and scarious margins above ; leaves up to 100 x 30 cm., oblong-lanceolate, obtuse, the lamina halves slightly unequal and rounded or sharply cuneate at the base, bright green in colour and devoid of wax ; inflorescence small, erect, borne on a minutely (rough-) hairy peduncle, 2 cm. in diameter ; basal hands 2 - 5 in number, each bearing 1 - 3 uniseriate female flowers ; female flowers, the ovary 5 - 6 cm. long, trilocular with ca. 170 - 250 biseriate ovules, the compound tepal 3 - 4 cm. long, flattened at the back and ribbed, pale yellow at the base grading to pale greenish yellow at the tip with 5 green minutely apiculate teeth, each 2 mm. long, the free tepal 3 cm. long, ovate-lanceolate, boat shaped, obtuse and crumpled-corrugate at the apex, translucent with yellow tinge near base, the style equal to the compound tepal, stout, pale yellow with dorsiventrally flattened stigma 6 x 5 mm., the staminodes 5, nectar abundant, watery rather than gelatinous ; bracts of the basal hands deflexed but not rolled, deciduous, thinly leathery, light red with sub, obtuse green tips, polished without, duller within, not at all waxy; male axis slender, erect or slightly declining, up to 40 cm. long at time of bunch maturity, with slightly prominent bract scars about 2 cm. long and 2 mm. deep and a ribbed and finely rough-hairy surface between the scars ; male bud spindle-shaped, broadest about the middle, rounded-acute at the apex strongly imbricate in the distal one third of its length ; male bract deciduous, lanceolate, obtuse, 10 x 3 - 4 cm., almost flat, thick and leathery in the centre, thinner near the edges, polished scarlet and greenish at the tip without, scarlet and duller within, persistent for a day after the flowers fall, deflexed at flowering and slightly recurved at the margins but not rolled back ; male flower, 2 - 5 per bract, uniseriate, each 4 - 5 cm. long, the abortive ovary 6 mm. long, the compound tepal 3.5 - 4.5 cm. long, ribbed at the dorsal angles, with 5 minute, mucronate teeth 1 - 2 mm. long, yellowish white below shading to green at the tip, the free tepal 20 - 30 x 10 - 12 mm., broadest near the base, nearly plane, tapered to a blunt mucronate point, whitish translucent near the base, tinged with green distally on the slender midrib, the stamens 5, 35 - 40 mm. long, white, with copious chalky-white pollen ; fruit-bunch small, erect and loosely packed, consisting of 2 - 5 hands of 1 - 3 fruits each ; fruit shortly pedicellate, erect, cylindrical, bottlenecked at the tip, 5 - 15 x 2 cm.; seeds subglobose, 4 - 5 mm. in diameter, light brown in colour, finely warty-ribbed with prominent pale hilar scar 3 mm. in diameter and prominent umbo 1 - 2 mm. high and with a small apical pit at distal end of seed ; somatic chromosome number 2n = 18".

(Simmonds, 1960.)

References Champion 1967 : 39, IPGRI, Häkkinen 2004, Häkkinen et al 2007, Hotta 1989, Jong & Argent 2001, Noweg et al 2003, Simmonds 1960 : 200, Simmonds and Weatherup 1990 : 570, WCM
Comments Simmonds comments, "this interesting little plant recalls Musa coccinea Andrews in general appearance but is quite distinct from it in the deciduous basal bracts, the large green fruits, the long-lived male bud and, above all, in the seeds which are not of the barrel- or top-shaped type characteristic of sect. Callimusa. The chromosome number, 2n = 18, is new to the genus Musa (see Shepherd in Nature 183, 1539). In the herbarium the plant looks like sect. Rhodochlamys and I took it to be allied to M. laterita E. E. Cheesm. when I first saw specimens in the Singapore collections (see Kew Bull. 11, 484: 1957). Like M. ingens, it almost certainly represents a new section of the genus". M. beccarii was treated as incertae sedis until Simmonds and Weatherup's numerical taxonomic analysis of wild bananas placed it in section Callimusa. However, the seed shape is not typical of section Callimusa and the chromosome number, 2n = 18, is also "anomalous" there. The diploid chromosome number of 18 was new to the genus Musa when reported by Simmonds although it is known now from Ensete and Musella as well. Simmonds and Weatherup do not seem to consider chromosome number as an important determinant of section but on this basis Jong and Argent 2001 maintain M. beccarii as species incertae sedis.

Simmonds named the plant "in honour of O. Beccari, distinguished for his contributions to the botany of Borneo and for his excellent descriptions of wild bananas from that island".

Occasionally eaten as a vegetable (Noweg et al 2003).

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last updated 21/04/2008