Musa japonica

Musa japonica
Hort. Cat. James Veitch & Sons.
[cited by Baker 1891 but not verified]
Musa japonica
Hort. Cat. C. Thibaut & J. B. Keteleer. 
[cited in Rev. Hort. [Paris] 61: 491 (1889) but not verified]
Musa japonica Hort. Veitch ex E. A. Carrière & E-F. André, Rev. Hort. [Paris] 61: 491 (1889).

Accepted name Musa basjoo P. F. (B.) von Siebold ex Y. Iinuma, Sintei Somoku dzusetsu [Illustrations and Descriptions of Plants] ed. 2, 3: pl. 1 (1874) et J. G. Baker Curtis's Botanical Magazine t. 7182 (1891).
Synonyms Musa martinii (but not valid).
Authorities The accepted name from Argent 1984 and Huxley 1992.

The synonym, which is not a valid one (see discussion at Musa martinii) is from RHS 1956.
References Argent 1984, Baker 1891, Cheesman 1948e, Constantine 2008, Griffiths 1994, Häkkinen and Väre 2008, Huxley 1992, RHS 1956, Sallier 1896, WCM
Comments Musa basjoo was first cultivated outside of China and Japan in the UK.  It was introduced from Japan by the nurserymen James Veitch and Sons in 1887 or 1888.  Unfortunately there do not seem to be any extant catalogues of James Veitch from that time and none of those lodged in the RHS Lindley Library mention the plant at all.  J. G. Baker (1891) was the first to recognise that Veitch's banana was von Siebold's Musa basjoo.  In his note in Curtis's Botanical Magazine Baker gives as a synonym "Musa japonica, Hort. Vietch ; Rev. Hort. 1889, p. 491."  This clearly implies that Veitch initially used the name Musa japonica although as mentioned above it has not been possible to confirm this in James Veitch's catalogues.  Other evidence that James Veitch used the name Musa japonica comes from the French literature.  In the Revue Horticole cited by Baker the entry starts "Musa japonica - Très-belle et très-vigoureuse, cette espèce, que MM. Veitch ont reçue du Japon, est relativement rustique; ainsi, cette année encore, elle a passé l'hiver en pleine terre, au Pessi-Piquet, chez MM. Thibaut et Keteleer...".  C. Thibaut (Thiébaut?) and J. B. Keteleer were nurserymen at nurserymen at Plessis-Piquet (= Plessis-Robinson) near Paris, who were responsible for the first introduction of the plant into France from James Veitch.  They would have used the name given to the plant by James Veitch.  More about the introduction of Musa basjoo in Constantine 2008 and here.

It is clear that neither James Veitch & Sons nor Thibaut & Keteleer published the names other than in their catalogues or plant lists.

Misquoting Baker, De Wildeman 1912 (p. 322) gives the somewhat muddled orthography "Musa japonica Hort. Veitch, ex Rev. Hort., LX (1880), p. 49" but I think he is quite right about "Hort. Veitch, ex Rev. Hort.".

Häkkinen and Väre (2008) cite Musa japonica C. Thiébaut & J. B. Keteleer, Revue horticole 60: 491 (1889).  This implies that Thiébaut & Keteleer wrote the item in Rev. Hort. for which there is no evidence.  The anonymous authors of the item were most likely E. A. Carrière & E-F. André who edited the magazine.  I think that the correct orthography is probably Musa japonica Hort. Veitch ex E. A. Carrière & E-F. André.  Häkkinen and Väre write that "it is suspected that the description [in Rev. Hort. which they erroneously attribute to Thiébaut & Keteleer] refers to M. basjoo".  It is perfectly clear that the plant under discussion is Musa basjoo and Baker reduced M. japonica under M. basjoo.

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last updated 22/10/2008