Musa campestris

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

Accepted name Musa campestris O. Beccari, Nelle Foreste di Borneo, 622 (1902).
Authorities Simmonds 1960.

The World Checklist of Monocotyledons lists Musa campestris Becc., Nelle Forest. Borneo: 622 (1902) as an accepted name.

Section Callimusa.
Distribution Borneo (Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak).
Description "Leaves more erect than in banana, narrowing very much at base and running into the stalk. Inflorescence erect. Bracts of male flowers oval, acuminate. Male flowers about 1½ in. long, perianth five-toothed, the two exterior lobes cuspidate ; free tepal ¾ as long as perianth, with rounded or emarginate apex. Fruit 3 - 3½ in. long by 1 in. broad, 3 - 4 ribbed, with a short, thick beak. Seeds numerous, about ¼ in. long, brown, rough with tubercles".

(Fawcett 1913).

"Plants emitting stolons freely, the pseudostem slender, 1.5 - 2.0 m. high, green and marked with brackish purple blotches ; leaf-blade up to 2 m. long, 40 cm. wide ; petioles 50 - 70 cm. long, with scarious margins, strongly grooved, slightly expanded into narrow auricles at the basal part ; inflorescence quite erect ; peduncle pubescent ; sterile bracts usually 1, with narrow and short foliage lamina, 50 - 70 cm. long, base broadened, lower side green, upper side reddish purple, usually persistent at the opening of the male flowers ; 5 - 7 basal hands female, upper hands male ; female flowers 3 - 5 per bract, in a single row or partly in two rows, the ovary 5.5 - 6.5 cm. long, white, the compound tepal 3.5 - 4.0 cm long, the free tepal obovate, 3.0 - 3.5 cm. long, staminodes shorter than the style, 1.0 - 1.4 cm. long, the style 3 cm. long, with a globose stigma 7 - 8 mm. in diameter ; male bud, in advanced stage of blooming, narrowly ovoid, acute, the bracts imbricate ; bract purplish pink, the outer surface shining without shade of glaucousness, lanceolate-oblong or ovate, the lowest ones about 10 cm. long, 4 cm. wide, deflexed but not rolled back, very soon deciduous ; male flowers 3 - 6 per bract in a single row or partly in two rows, the compound tepal 3.2 - 4.0 cm long, orange in the upper part and nearly white at the base, ribbed at the dorsal angles, with 5-toothed apex, the outer lobes ovate, cuspidate, inner three lobes rotundate, central one larger than the laterals, the free tepal 2.3 - 3.5 cm. long, oblanceolate, rotundate and entire or with a few irregular serrations, the stamens longer than the free tepal, filaments 1.4 - 1.8 cm. long, anthers 1.5- 2.0 cm. long ; fruit bunch rather compact, its peduncles and rachis pubescent, the fingers inflexed to stand almost parallel to the rachis ; individual fruit 8 - 13 cm long, about 2 cm. in diameter, cylindrical with 4 - 5 angles, pedicel short and obscure, apical part bottle-neck-shaped with truncate apex, the pericarp thin, powdery green and usually blotched reddish purple ; seeds cylindrical obpyriform, tuberculate, 4 - 5 mm. long, 2.5 - 3.0 mm. in diameter".

(Hotta 1967).

Height to about 3m. Inflorescence erect. Bracts bright purple, flowers orange-yellow, fruit very pale whitish-green irregularly mottled with purple.

(from Cranbrook & Edwards 1994).

References Champion 1967 : 39, Cheesman 1947b : 112, Cheesman 1950s : 152, Coode et al 1996 : 377, Cranbrook & Edwards 1994 : 153, Häkkinen 2003, Häkkinen 2004, Hotta 1967 : 350, Hotta 1989 : 71, Noweg et al 2003, Simmonds 1960 : 202 & 203.

Hotta provisionally classified M. campestris into two subspecies, subsp. campestris and subsp. glabra. but this was never formally published and can be ignored. For the record, in correspondence with Markku Häkkinen, Hotta noted that subsp. campestris "is distributed around Kuching, western part of Sarawak, with hairy peduncle" and subsp. glabra " is distributed eastern Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah with glabrous peduncle".

Markku Häkkinen has identified five geographically delimited varieties (not subspecies) of M. campestris in northern Borneo:

M. campestris var. campestris
M. campestris var. lawasensis
M. campestris var. limbangensis
M. campestris var. miriensis
M. campestris var. sabahensis
M. campestris var. sarawakensis

Although he had not seen the plant Cheesman (1950 s) comments that from its description it must be very similar to M. violascens. Simmonds comments on the small size of its seeds which he gives as 6 x 2 - 3 mm.

Occasionally eaten as a vegetable (Noweg et al 2003)


There is one image of the extraordinary coloured fruits of Musa campestris.

home     next          With acknowledgements to Markku Häkkinen.

last updated 29/04/2008