Musa rosacea

Musa rosacea N. J. von Jacquin, Plantarum rarorium Horti Caesari Schoenbrunnensis 4: 22 & t. 445 (1804) and Fragm. t. 132 fig. 4 (1808).
Musa rosacea Hort. auct. non N. J. von Jacquin
Musa rosacea Singh, H. P., Uma, S. & Sathiamoorthy, S. non N. J. von Jacquin (
2001) in A Tentative Key for Identification and Classification of Indian Bananas. National Research Centre for Banana (ICAR), Tiruchapalli, India : 32.

Musa rosacea N. J. von Jacquin, Plantarum rarorium Horti Caesari Schoenbrunnensis 4: 22 & t. 445 (1804) and Fragm. t. 132 fig. 4 (1808).

Accepted name Musa (ABB group) member


Musa balbisiana L. A. Colla, Memoria della Reale Accademia delle Scienze di Torino 25 : 384 (1820). [Memoria sul genera Musa e monografia del Medesimo 56 (1820).] and E. E. Cheesman, Kew Bulletin 3 (1): 14 (1948).

Authorities The accepted name applies Simmonds and Shepherd's genomic nomenclature system to information in Argent 1984.

The World Checklist of Monocotyledons lists Musa rosacea Jacq., Pl. Hort. Schoenbr. 4: 22 (1804) as a provisional synonym of Musa balbisiana var. balbisiana which is listed as an accepted name.

References Argent 1984, Cheesman 1949b, Griffiths 1994, GRIN, Huxley 1992, Moore 1957 : 189, RHS 1956.
Comments Jacquin's text on Musa rosacea from Plantarum raroriumis at and his illustration at  Jacquin's illustration of the fruit from Fragmenta botanica is at   

Musa rosacea N. J. von Jacquin was sent to Europe from Mauritius in 1788.  Despite its early cultivation in Europe it is now not possible reliably to apply the name Musa rosacea to a living plant.  Jacquin's beautiful but somewhat stylised illustration is well worth taking a look at.  There is obviously a lot of Musa balbisiana in the plant but the fruit are undeveloped as commonly occurs in European cultivation even with parthenocarpic types.  The WCM takes the view that, at least provisionally, Musa rosacea is referable to Musa balbisiana.  However, it seems to me that the fruit illustrated in Jacquin's Fragmenta botanica is just not right for M. balbisiana.  Cheesman thinks it more likely that Musa rosacea is a form of M. sapientum, an edible banana.  As defined by Cheesman M. sapientum has an AAB genome but Jacquin's plant looks more like an ABB.  Argent comments that "a variant of M. x sapientum whose stem, leaves and fruit are tinged with purplish blue is often sold as M. violacea J. G. Baker (an invalid name). The name M. rosacea correctly applies to this hybrid but is commonly and incorrectly applied to M. ornata" (see below).

Musa roseacea is a typographical error at IBPGR for Musa rosacea.

Musa rosacea Hort. non N. J. von Jacquin

Accepted name Musa ornata W. Roxburgh, Hortus Bengalensis, 19 (1814) and Flora Indica I: 666 (1820-1824).
Authorities Cheesman 1949
References Anon 1823, Cheesman 1949h, Shanmugavellu et al 1992.
Comments According to Cheesman the origin of the confusion between M. rosacea and M. ornata was a note appended by Nathaniel Wallich to the original description of M. ornata in Flora Indica in which he states "this is probably M. rosacea Jacq."  Wallich may simply have made an honest mistake or he may have been influenced by the anonymous author of the item in The Botanical register 9 t. 706 (1823).  In this item the author gives perfectly good illustrations of Musa ornata, with its upright inflorescence, and names it Musa rosacea after Jacquin's plant with its pendulous inflorescence..  The accompanying text is rather amusing:

"There is some difference in the representation of this plant in Jacquin's work from the one before us, but we really believe the apparent difference arises principally from the upper portion of Jacquin's plant being withered before opening. [ ] We do not believe that Spadix erectus and Spadix nutans are available marks of distinction."

The item in The Botanical register is at and subsequent pages.

In the UK The Botanical register would have had more currency that Jacquin's Plantarum rarorium and coupled with Wallich's remark it is perhaps unsurprising that later authors blindly accepted the synonymy of M. ornata and M. rosacea. Among these is the author of the Musa entry in RHS 1956 who gives a nice description of M. ornata under the name M. rosacea.     

Iteration of Wallich's mistake in horticultural texts led gradually to the name M. rosacea being de-graded simply to an alternative name to M. ornata. In that sense the name used in horticultural circles came to mean something quite different to von Jacquin's original intention. This de-graded form of the name is referred to as M. rosacea Hort. non Jacq. in Huxley 1992 and Griffiths 1994.

As evidence of further confusion Shanmugavellu et al 1992 mention that one plant used as a pollen donor in a banana breeding programme in India was labelled originally as M. rosacea (probably M. rosacea Hort. non Jacq.) but later identified as M. laterita. This seems to simple case of mistaken identity, M. laterita is a good species.

Musa rosacea Singh, H. P., Uma, S. & Sathiamoorthy, S. non N. J. von Jacquin (2001) in A Tentative Key for Identification and Classification of Indian Bananas. National Research Centre for Banana (ICAR), Tiruchapalli, India : 32.

Accepted name not determined
Description Stature : Slender. Habitat : Natural, found in the forests of Arunachal Pradesh (India) at higher altitudes. Suckers : Many, they can emerge even 40 - 45 cm far away from the mother plant. Pseudostem : 2 - 2.4 m height, green, heavily wax coated have black blotches. Leaves : Narrow up to 2 m long with 25 - 30 cm width, laminar bases are one side pointed and the other is slightly rounded. Medium green in colour on both surfaces. Petiole : Very long petiole, 1.25 - 1.30 m long, has wide open channel, base of the petiole is clasped by it's dry wings, petiole margins are red, this red pigment extends towards the underneath of midrib. Peduncle : Erect, very short 5 - 10 cm long, glabrous in nature. Bunch : 5 - 6 hands of fingers, they are uniseriate, spaciously arranged. Male axis : Short, 30 - 35 cm long, has medium bract scars, erect in position. Male bud and Male bract : Pink coloured lanceolate male bud, slightly imbricate. Pink on both outer and inner faces, outer face is also smooth in nature, no ash coating. Tip of the bract is shaded by bright yellow. Bract open one or two at a time. Male flowers : Orange, 3 - 5 per hand, in single series. Compound tepal : Orange, 3 - 4 cm long, lobes are orange yellow (3 + 2). Free tepal : Oblong in shape, 3.0 - 3.5 cm long, tip is pointed, more or less smooth, translucent white in colour. Androecium : 5 free stamens, protruded, anthers are purple in colour, heavily polleniferous. Style and stigma : Straight, white coloured style bears 3 pairs of orange lobed stigma. Fruits : Do not reflex, parallel to the axis, 6 - 7 cm long, 1 - 2 cm diameter, thickness of the peel is 1.0 to 1.5 mm, pulp white, seeds are warty, black in colour, 10 - 15 seeds per fruit.

(Singh et al 2001).

References Singh et al 2001 : 32
Comments Singh et al list five members of Indian Rhodochlamys; M. laterita, M. rubra, M. velutina, M. rosacea and M. ornata.  Since they distinguish Musa ornata they are clearly not confusing them but it is not possible to state with any certainty what their Musa rosacea Jacq. (with an erect inflorescence) actually relates to.

home     next          Compiled partly with information from Gerda Rossel.

last updated 01/05/2008