Musa borneensis

Musa borneensis
O. Beccari, Nelle Foreste di Borneo, 622 (1902).

Accepted name Musa borneensis O. Beccari, Nelle Foreste di Borneo, 622 (1902).
Synonyms Musa flavida M. Hotta, Journal of Japanese Botany 42 (11) : 348 (1967).
Authorities The accepted name is from Cheesman 1950r.

The World Checklist of Monocotyledons lists Musa borneensis Becc., Nelle Forest. Borneo: 622 (1902) as an accepted name with the following synonyms:

Musa flavida M. Hotta, J. Jap. Bot. 42: 348 (1967).
Musa borneensis var. alutacea Häkkinen & Meekiong, Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 56(3): 220 (2005).
Musa borneensis var. flavida (M.Hotta) Häkkinen & Meekiong, Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 56(3): 218 (2005).
Musa borneensis var. lutea Häkkinen & Meekiong, Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 56(3): 222 (2005).
Musa borneensis var. phoenicea Häkkinen & Meekiong, Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 56(3): 223 (2005).
Musa borneensis var. sarawakensis Häkkinen & Meekiong, Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 56(3): 224 (2005).

The World Checklist of Monocotyledons omits Musa borneensis var. borneensis Häkkinen & Meekiong, Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 56(3): page? (2005).

Musa borneensis and not Musa borneënsis according to ICBN Art. 60.6.

Section Callimusa
Distribution Borneo (Sarawak, Brunei).
Description "Plant similar in appearance and size to a common banana. Leaf-stalks arcuate-spreading ; margins of the sheaths glabrous, auriculate, clasping and corrugate. Bunch large, unilateral, pendent. Male flowers uniseriate, 5 - 8 to each bract, white, greenish at the tip ; bracts rose-vinous, reflexed, revolute at the apex. Perigonium (closed), two-keeled, open above, semi-clasping : compound tepal provided at the tip with three spreading teeth, later reflexed, green, triangular, the middle one obtuse, the lateral ones terminated by a long filiform point ; free tepal cymbiform, slightly inflated, acute at the apex ; stamens included in the perigonium ; pollen extruded unitedly in a viscosity at the mouth of the perigonium. Fruit glabrous, uniseriate, 14 - 16 cm. long and 3.5 cm. thick ; seed obpyriform, rather large, about 1 cm. long and 7 mm. wide, tuberculate roughish in the upper half".

(translation of Beccari's original Latin description and notes in Italian from Cheesman 1950 r).

"The plant is stoloniferous, though stooling rather sparsely under [Trinidad] conditions. Its pseudostems reach about 3 m. in height and 15 - 20 cm. in diameter at the base, and are green with a purplish flush and blackish-purple markings, quite devoid of wax. Leaf-bades are 2 - 2.5 m. long, 60 - 65 cm. wide (all dimensions are probably bigger in Sarawak as our plant is checked annually by the dry season [in Trinidad]) on petioles about 60 cm. long. The broad corrugated auricles at the region where the petiole joins the sheath are conspicuous and characteristic.

The female flowers (5 - 8) per bract in a single row) have a compound tepal 6 - 7 cm. long, with two prominent thickened keels and hyaline margins, its lobes are small (2 - 3 mm.) and the accessory teeth minute. The free tepal is 4.5 - 5 cm. long and the staminodes are about 1 cm. long.

The male bud in advanced blooming is very broadly ovate, with the bracts strongly imbricate. The bracts described by Beccari as "rosy-vinous", are indeed a very handsome crimson-purple, green at the extreme tip, broadly ovate and blunt, shining with a polished appearance and stiff in texture. There is nothing unusual about the dehiscence of the anthers and the extrusion of the pollen.

The seeds of our plant are a trifle smaller than Beccari's, 7 mm. long and 5 mm. wide, but otherwise answer excellently to his description, having a distinct waist at the middle (marking the base of the perisperm chamber within) and being rugose-tuberculate above this line and smooth below".

(Cheesman 1950r).

References Champion 1967 : 39, Cheesman 1950r, Cranbrook & Edwards 1994 : 153, Coode et al 1996 : 337, Fawcett 1913 : 273, Hakkinen and Meekiong 2005, Hotta 1989, IPGRI, RBGE, Simmonds 1960 : 202 - 203, WCM.
Comments Cheesman notes that this is the largest Callimusa and has the largest non-parthenocarpic fruits in the whole genus Musa.

It has been know for some time that M. borneensis is a variable species and that forms existed with different bract colours. Most widespread is the form with purplish or reddish bracts described above but as mentioned by Coode et al 1996 a yellow-bracted plant (named Musa flavida by Hotta) is most common in Brunei.  Hakkinen and Meekiong 2005 established six varieties (not five as indicated at WCM) and reduced M. flavida to one of them, see below.

"Borneo, being part of the centre of banana origin, is home to a large number of wild bananas. Musa borneensis was one of the first Musa species from the island that was described by the Italian botanist Dr. Odoardo Beccari in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, the Japanese Prof. Mitsuru Hotta described a closely related variety of Musa borneensis, and named it Musa flavida. However, each botanist studied different areas of the island and could not observe the close relation to the other varieties. The Musa borneensis group from Borneo has been studied extensively in the field during 2001 – 2004 in Malaysia (Sarawak and Sabah) and Brunei by the authors. [ ]  Six distinct Musa borneensis varieties have been identified: alutacea, borneensis, flavida, lutea, phoenicea, and sarawakensis. Four of these varieties are described and illustrated as new varieties. We propose re-classifying Musa flavida as a variety rather than as a species, as its degree of differentiation is well within the variations of the other varieties described." (Abstract from Hakkinen and Meekiong 2005).

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last updated 29/04/2008