Musa x discolor

Musa x discolor Hort. Berol. ex P. F. Horaninow, Prodromus Monographiae Scitaminarum: 41 (1862).

Accepted name Musa (AAB group) Plantain sub-group


Musa x paradisiaca L., Species Plantarum : 1043 (1753).

Authorities The accepted name is from Stover & Simmonds 1987.

The World Checklist of Monocotyledons gives Musa discolor Horan., Prodr. Monogr. Scitam.: 41 (1862) as an accepted name.

Distribution New Caledonia.
Description Stoloniferous. Stem slender, cylindrical, 6 - 10 ft. high. Leaves narrow-oblong, smaller and firmer in texture than in M. sapientum, rounded at the base, glaucous, tinged with violet or red beneath when young ; petiole a foot or more long. Spike drooping, finally as long as the leaves ; bracts reddish, the upper part only persisting ; male flowers deciduous. Fruit cylindrical, angled, rather curved, umbonate at the apex, rather dry, reddish-violet, very palatable, with a violet pulp, and a rather musky scent. Distribution:- This species is cultivated in Polynesia and especially in New Caledonia, where it bears the name Colaboute, and is said by Vieillard to be wild there. It produces no fertile seeds. It is in cultivation in this country [U.K.] and there is a drawing at Kew by Fitch of a plant that flowered in the Gardens many years ago. The stem yields a textile fibre which is used for fish baskets, &c.

(Anon. 1906).

Trunk slender, 6 - 10 ft. long, suckering. Leaves narrow-oblong, smaller and firmer in texture than in the banana, glaucous, tinged with red or violet beneath when young. Inflorescence drooping; bracts reddish, the upper only persisting; male flowers deciduous. Fruit cylindrical, angled, rather curved, rather dry, reddish violet, very palatable, with a violet pulp with a rather musky scent. Wild in New Caledonia (native name Colabonte), yielding textile fibre, which is used for fish-baskets, &c.

(Fawcett 1913).

Height to 3m. Pseudostem stoloniferous. Leaves narrow oblong, glaucous, purple or red beneath when young. Inflorescence nodding, bracts reddish. Fruit angled, flesh red.

(RHS 1956).

References Anon 1906 : 20, Fawcett 1913 : 267, RHS 1956, Sagot 1887 : 329, Stover & Simmonds 1987 : 129, Uphof 1968.
Comments Published as Musa discolor the "x" is added to indicate its presumed hybridity.  In this context Musa x paradisiaca should not be read as implying that Musa x discolor is Musa (AAB group) 'French' plantain, Cheesman's identification of Musa x paradisiaca L. (Cheesman 1948).  However, Stover & Simmonds do identify it as a member of the Musa (AAB group) Plantain sub-group.

Despite the striking colour of the flesh of the fruit I think it is not possible to relate the name Musa discolor to a specific extant cultivar of banana.

According to Kurz, Horaninow uses M. discolor to apply to a banana "much cultivated in European hothouses" (hort, Berol. implies Berlin) but that little was known about it.

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last updated 30/04/2008