Musa malaccensis

Musa malaccensis H. N. Ridley, Trans. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. Ser. 2. 3 : 385 (1893).

Accepted name Musa acuminata L. A. Colla subsp. malaccensis (H. N. Ridley) N. W. Simmonds, Kew Bulletin 11 (3): 463 - 489 (1956).
Synonyms 1. Musa acuminata L. A. Colla, the Selangor form of E. E. Cheesman, Kew Bull. 1948, 17 et seq. and N. W. Simmonds, Malayan Nat. J. 10, 3 (1955)
2. Musa flava H. N. Ridley loc. cit.; N. W. Simmonds, Ann. Bot. Lond. 10, 478 (1954)
3. Musa truncata H. N. Ridley,
J. Fed. Malay States Mus. 4 : 80 (1909).
? Musa corneri R. E. Holltum, unpublished manuscript, Musa sp. native in Malaya, in library at RBG Kew, (typed 1974) : 15. (1944-46).
5. Musa acuminata forma acuminata C. A. Backer & R. C. Bakhuizen van den Brink, Flora of Java 3 : 38. (1968).
Authorities The accepted name is from Simmonds 1956.

Synonym sources are:
1 to 2 are from Simmonds 1956.
3 is from Hotta 1989 but Simmonds 1956 gives M. truncata Ridl. as a synonym of Musa acuminata Colla subsp. microcarpa (Beccari) Simmonds.  In 2001 Ruth Kiew established truncata as a subspecies of Musa acuminata.
4 is inferred from
Holltum's unpublished manuscript.
5. is from

The World Checklist of Monocotyledons lists Musa malaccensis Ridl., Trans. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. 3: 385 (1893) as a synonym and Musa acuminata subsp. malaccensis (Ridl.) N.W.Simmonds, Kew Bull. 11: 466 (1956 publ. 1957) as an accepted name.

References Backer & Bakhuizen van den Brink 1968 : 35, Burkill 1935, Hotta 1989, RHS 1956, Simmonds 1956 : 466, Saw & Sulaiman 1991.
Comments RHS 1956 states that Musa zebrina is probably a form of Musa malaccensis.

The nomenclature of this plant and its close relatives seems particularly confusing. There are obviously three very closely related forms of Musa acuminata but sufficiently different for Norman Simmonds to treat them as distinct subspecies:

Musa acuminata subsp. malaccensis (H. N. Ridley) N. W. Simmonds
Musa acuminata
subsp. sumatrana (O. Beccari) N. W. Simmonds
Musa acuminata subsp. zebrina (H. N. Ridley) N. W. Simmonds

A number of horticultural 'forms' at least of the last two subspecies seem to be in cultivation. These tend to be given different names by different nurseries or different literature e.g. 'Sumatrana', 'Zebrina', 'Rubra' and 'Rojo'. The names are used sometimes as if they were species names. This is wrong. The names are used sometimes as if they were cultivar names. This is also probably wrong in a formal sense because most are probably referable directly to the subspecies. However, some plants may indeed be distinct selections worthy of cultivar status. Unless and until someone collects all the cultivated 'forms' together in one place and evaluates them side-by-side it is likely not to be possible to determine their true individual status.

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last updated 01/05/2008


Accepted name Musa acuminata subsp. malaccensis (H. N. Ridley) N. W. Simmonds
Authorities By inference from Hotta 1989.