Musa lolodensis

Musa lolodensis
E. E. Cheesman, Kew Bulletin 5 (1): 27 (1950).

Accepted name Musa lolodensis E. E. Cheesman, Kew Bulletin 5 (1): 27 (1950).
Authorities Argent 1976, Cheesman 1950 o.

The World Checklist of Monocotyledons lists Musa lolodensis Cheesman, Kew Bull. 5: 27 (1950) as an accepted name.

Section Australimusa
Distribution Halmahera, Irian Jaya, north west Papua New Guinea.
Description Pseudostem up to 7 m tall and 60 cms in girth at the base ; green or sometimes blackish, predominantly brown at the base from persistent dead sheaths. Sap very variable, white, pink or violet. Rhizomes short, the young suckers arising erect, but close to the parent stem ; not seen forming large clumps. Shoulder green, coloured with irregular blackish-brown markings, with an irregular and rather ragged but broad more or less appressed scarious margin. Petiole green or often blackish on the underside with scarious edges which more or less enclose the small canal ; TS ratio 0.3. Leaf lamina yellow-green above slightly paler below, not waxy, right-handed with auriculate basal lobes ; PB ratio 3.5 - 4.0.

Peduncle green, glabrous or hairy. Bunch variable in habit, from curving first upwards and then down, to hanging almost entirely vertically downwards, but typically curving more or less diagonally downwards, very lax. Fruit apparently without tropic response, standing out rather irregularly all round the stem. Basal bracts long, curling backwards, quickly deciduous. Basal flowers female, with poorly developed, or entirely without, staminodes. Pedicels long for the size of the fruit, up to 2 cm. Young fruit yellowish-green, glabrous, with four ovule rows per loculus. Mature fruit bright coppery-orange with dull orange-coloured pulp, dehiscent, the skin splitting into irregular segments and curling backwards, not highly aromatic, more or less ovoid about twice as long as wide. Seeds c. 6 mm in diameter, irregularly and sharply angled but with a very smooth surface ; hilum more or less flush with the testa surface, without a raised collar ; umbo small, slightly elevated or obsolete.

Male peduncle descending vertically. Male bud convolute or slightly imbricate, rather less than twice as long as broad, deep or pale pink to creamy-white. Male bracts, coloured as in the male bud both inside and out, lifting to an angle well above the horizontal, not curling, quickly deciduous. Male flower with the free tepal almost as long as the compound tepal ; compound tepal cream with yellow tips to the lobes ; free tepal translucent white, somewhat concave, ovate with a truncated apex with small teeth and no subapical wrinkle. Male flowers falling together from each bract, not separating. Chromosome number 2n = 20.

(Argent 1976).

References Argent 1976 : 106, Cheesman 1950 o, GRIN, INIBAP, IBPGR, Nasution 1993 : 16.
Comments TS ratio is the vertical depth of the petiole canal divided by the vertical depth of the petiole tissue beneath.
PB ratio is the ratio of petiole length to leaf blade length.
As applied by Argent these ratios should strictly be calculated for the fourth-last, fully expanded vegetative leaf below the inflorescence.

This plant was discovered first on the island of Halmahera by David Fairchild and Hugh Curran on a collecting expedition for the Fairchild Tropical Garden (for more information about this expedition go here ). The type collection, Fairchild & Curran 388, is at Kew. The name derives from its habitat on the banks of the Loloda River; there are a number of geographic features with this name on Halmahera.

The plant was recollected from its type locality by Nasution in 1982 and Nasutions 1993 paper about this is at

Argent found the plant in the Bewani-Torricelli mountains in north-west Papua New Guinea and a Kew expedition to Irian Jaya subsequently found the plant there. There seems to be one slight difference between plants from the easternmost and westernmost parts of the range in that the latter have scarious shoulder margins whereas the former do not.

Musa lolodensis is one of only six bananas currently known in which the fruit splits (or dehisces or is schizocarpic) on maturity, the others are Musa hirta from Borneo, Musa johnsii from Papua (Irian Jaya), Musa velutina from north-east India, Musa schizocarpa from Papua New Guinea, and Musella lasiocarpa from China and northern Indo-China.


There are external images of Musa lolodensis at

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last updated 20/10/2008