Musa monticola

Musa monticola
M. Hotta ex G. C. G. Argent, Gardens' Bulletin Singapore, 52 (1) : 206 (2000).

Accepted name Musa monticola M. Hotta ex G. C. G. Argent, Gardens' Bulletin Singapore, 52 (1) : 206 (2000).
Authorities Argent 2000.

The World Checklist of Monocotyledons lists Musa monticola M.Hotta ex Argent, Gard. Bull. Singapore 52: 206 (2000) as an accepted name.

Section probably Australimusa.
Distribution Borneo (Sabah).
Description "Pseudostem 1-2 m, dark shiny brown or mottled green and brown often with a little violet, waxless, sometimes almost completely covered with pale brown withered sheaths, under-sheath pale green, inner sheath white, 15 cm girth at the base. Sap watery or slightly creamy. Rhizomes short, the suckers erect arising up to 10cm. away from the parent pseudostem. Suckering frequent, the plants mostly forming small clumps. Upper leaf sheath margin (shoulder), appressed, smooth with a dark brown edge c. 2 mm wide, sometimes narrowly scarious for 1-1.5 mm. Fourth last leaf: petiole 36-48 x 1.4-1.6 cm, mostly dark rather lustrous brown, sometimes flushed with pink, without wax, the channel c. one third of the depth, (TS ratio 1/2), margins erect distally, completely enfolded in the lowest one third to one half and edged with a black or scarious margin c. l mm wide; leaf blade left-handed to c. 1-1.5 cm, sometimes almost symmetrical, rounded to auriculate at the base, rarely broadly tapering, dull green above, yellowish green below, often with brown discoloured areas, sometimes with light pink on the midrib above and below, without wax, PB ratio 3.5-4, the blades being 104-160 x 32-45 cm broadest about the middle.

Inflorescence with glabrous, green peduncle. Bunch held semi-erect, very dense, the fruits two-rowed, in 5-7 'hands', the second 'hand' with 10-13 fruits from very short c. 5 mm pedicels. Fruits more or less ageotropic disposed almost radially from the axis. Basal bracts, long, lingulate, c.23 x 9 cm, shiny, glossy purplish-brown outside, sometimes with a little pink; passing to yellow for 1-2 cm at the base and with green margins at the tip, inside creamy yellowish with a pinkish purple edge, sub- persistent to persistent in a withered brown state, trapped between the tightly appressed fruit as they develop. Basal flowers hermaphrodite with a full compliment of fully developed stamens, ovary c. 3 cm, compound tepal c. 3.3 cm, cream with yellowish tips; the free tepal white, strongly keeled and wrinkled; stamens cream; stigma white; style cream. Young fruits glabrous, green, 40-75 x 16-25 mm; ovules in two rows per loculus often strongly angled in cross section due to the compression between fruits. Mature fruit ripening dirty cream in the basal part, dirty creamy-green in the upper part, (clear pale yellow in cultivation), indehiscent, not strongly aromatic. Seeds small, 4-5 mm diameter, sub-spherical, only weakly angled, with a distinctly warty surface, the hilum small c. 1.5 mm, smooth, apical chamber small.

Male peduncle growing diagonally downwards, weak, 5-12 cm. long, glabrous, often terminating whilst the fruits are still very immature, frequently broken and appearing to be absent. Male bud conical with a very acute tip, 6-9 x 2.2-4 mm, imbricate for just 1-2 cm at the tip, creamy orange with a dark purple flush and blackish purple at the bract margins; bracts lifting rather irregularly to the perpendicular or slightly higher, often several opening together, intensely shiny, orange brown on the adaxial surface, not reflexing but the margins tending to inroll slightly with age, persistent or tardily deciduous. Male flowers up to 3 cm, cream, the tips of the compound tepal yellowish green, strongly reflexed and rolled, to 5 mm long when unrolled. Free tepal translucent white with a yellow spot at the apex, nearly as long as the compound tepal, concave and acutely pointed, sometimes with a small subapical wrinkle."

(from Argent 2000).

References Argent 1976, Argent 2000, Hotta 1987, Hotta 1989.
Comments Argent's paper on the Wild Bananas of Papua New Guinea (Argent 1976) is a fascinating account of the bananas of PNG but also contains extremely useful notes on terminology. It introduces the concept of standardising on the 4th last leaf, "the fourth-last, fully expanded, vegetative leaf below the inflorescence" for taxonomically useful descriptions. It also introduces the very helpful concept of the "shoulder", that portion of the petiole between the free petiole and the pseudostem proper.

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last updated 01/05/2008