Musa nana

Musa nana
J. de Loureiro Fl. Cochinch.: 644 (1790).
Musa nana auct.non J. de Loureiro

Accepted name Musa (AAA group) 'Dwarf Cavendish' type


Musa acuminata L. A. Colla, Memoria della Reale Accademia delle Scienze di Torino 25 : 384 (1820). [Memoria sul genere Musa e monografia del Medesimo 66 (1820).] and E. E. Cheesman, Kew Bulletin 3 (1): 22 (1948).

Synonyms 1. Musa acuminata L. A. Colla
2. Musa cavendishii J. Paxton
3. Musa cavendishii A. B. Lambert ex J. Paxton
4. Musa sinensis P. A. Sagot
Authorities The accepted name is from Stover & Simmonds.

References for the synonymy are: 1 GRIN; 2 Burkill; 3 & 4 Mobot.

The World Checklist of Monocotyledons gives Musa nana Lour., Fl. Cochinch.: 644 (1790) as an accepted name and lists the following synonyms Musa chinensis Sweet, Hort. Brit. 2: 596 (1830), nom. nud., Musa cavendishii Lamb., Paxton's Mag. Bot. 3: 51 (1837), Musa rhinozerotis Kurz, J. Agric. Soc. India, n.s., 5: 64 (1878) and Musa sinensis Sagot ex Baker, Ann. Bot. (Oxford) 7: 209 (1893).

Description Loureiro's original description of Musa nana is at    
References Backer & Backhuizen 1968, Burkill 1935, Fawcett 1913 : 265, Graf Exotica, GRIN, Icon. Corm. Sinicorum, Kurz 1866 : 299, Kurz 1877 : 164 & 165, Mobot Tropicos, Stover & Simmonds 1987, Riffle 1998.
Comments My understanding from Stover & Simmonds is that M. nana Lour. is Musa (AAA group) 'Dwarf Cavendish' but a different clone to that named M. cavendishii and M. sinensis. At Mobot, this fine distinction seems not to be made in which case M. nana takes precedence over M. cavendishii and M. sinensis because Joćo de Loureiro published the name in 1790 well before the other names were given.

The WCM gives the accepted name as Musa nanaMusa nana is the earliest valid binomial given to dwarf AAA group bananas but in my opinion it is not taxonomically useful to give it as the accepted name.  There are many AAA type bananas that show a continuous and taxonomically irrelevant variation in height.  I do not see the point in arbitrarily designating  the smallest of these as Musa nana.

Difficulties in resolving such issues are avoided by adopting the genome nomenclature system of Shepherd & Simmonds.

The WCM brings Kurz's M. rhinozerotis into synonymy but Kurz (1877) clearly treated M. nana as distinct despite his rather confusing statement that M. rhinozerotis is "short-stemmed and exactly like like M. nana but the leaf sheaths all enveloping each other; flowers all fertile.  In his earlier paper, Kurz (1876) brought M. cavendishii Lin. (sic.) into synonymy with Loureiro's M. nana.  It must be said though that Kurz's unfinished writings on bananas are somewhat erratic and it is not always possible to tell where he was going with his arrangement of "species".

See Musa cavendishii for further discussion.

Musa nana auct. non J. de Loureiro

Accepted name Musa (AAA group) 'Dwarf Cavendish' type
References Griffiths 1994, Huxley 1992.
Comments Huxley 1992 and Griffiths 1994 refer this plant along with M. cavendishii Lamb. ex Paxt. and M. chinensis Sweet to M. acuminata Colla.

I think that Musa nana auct.non J. de Loureiro is a degraded form of the name applied carelessly by various authors. In context, I think that referring M. cavendishii Lamb. ex Paxt. to M. acuminata Colla is wrong so I am doubtful of the validity of the other references.

home     next

last updated 01/05/2008