Musa sanguinea

Musa sanguinea F. M. J. Welwitsch ex J. G. Baker, Ann. Bot. 7: 212 (1893).
Musa sanguinea J. D. Hooker, Bot. Mag. t. 5975 (1872).

Musa sanguinea F. M. J. Welwitsch ex J. G. Baker, Ann. Bot. 7: 212 (1893).

Accepted name none - probably a Musa (AAB group) banana


Musa x paradisiaca L., Species Plantarum : 1043 (1753).

Synonyms Musa paradisiaca subsp. sapientum var. sanguinea J. G. Baker
Authorities Baker 1893.
Description Leaves and fruit strongly tinged with blood-red according to Baker.
References Baker 1893 : 212, RHS 1956.
Comments Quoted in RHS 1956 as a 'variety' of Musa paradisiaca subsp. sapientum that had previously been described as a species.

Musa sanguinea J. D. Hooker, Bot. Mag. t. 5975 (1872).

Accepted name Musa sanguinea J. D. Hooker, Bot. Mag. t. 5975 (1872).
Synonyms 1. ? Musa assamica - species ignota
2. ? Musa splendida A. J. B. Chevalier, Rev. Bot. Appliq. 14: 517 (1934).

The accepted name is from Cheesman.

The "synonyms", which are actually rather doubtful "associations" are from:

1. RHS 1956.
2. Champion 1967.

The World Checklist of Monocotyledons lists Musa sanguinea Hook.f., Bot. Mag. 98: t. 5975 (1872) as an accepted name.

Section Rhodochlamys
Distribution N. E. India (Assam), Tibet, China, Indonesia.
Description "Stem very slender, 4 - 5 ft. long. Leaves oblong, 2 - 3 ft. long, thin, bright green, rounded at the base ; petiole slender, a foot long. Panicle erect, or finally drooping ; female clusters 2 - 6, with 2 - 3 flowers in each ; male clusters few, dense ; bracts bright red, the lower lanceolate, 1 ft. long, the upper persistent, lanceolate, 3 - 4 in. ; rachis stout, pubescent. Calyx bright yellow, 5-toothed at the apex, 1½ in. long ; petal linear, obtuse, nearly as long as the calyx. Fruit oblong-trigonous, 2 in. long, rather pulpy, pale yellow-green variegated with red, glabrous. Seeds angled by pressure, small, black, tubercled."

(Baker 1893).

"Plant stooling freely ; pseudostems 1 - 1½ metres high, 5 - 8 cm. in diameter at base, very heavily blotched with purple-brown, not at all glaucous. Leaf blades up to 1.5 m. long 40 cm. wide, truncate at apex, rounded at base, bright green above, paler beneath, when young slightly bronze-flushed beneath, the flush disappearing as the leaf ages ; midribs at first red on both surfaces, later becoming green above but remaining red below ; petioles 30 - 40 cm. long, with definite erect margins, expanded towards the base into a wing 1.5 - 2 cm. wide, this at first often corrugate, later becoming scarious.

Inflorescence horizontal, the peduncle flexing sharply as soon as the bud is clear of its subtending leaf-sheath ; peduncle red, 2 cm. thick, velvety with a white indumentum ; sterile bract usually one, often with a leaflike tip, the preceding leaf with a broadened and reddened petiole ; first fertile bract about 20 cm. long, 7.5 cm. wide, lanceolate, somewhat velvety ; basal flowers hermaphrodite, the fertile "hands" varying up to about 5 upper flowers male.

Hermaphrodite flowers 3 - 5 per bract in a single row ; ovary 3 - 3.5 cm. long, pale green ; compound tepal 4.5 cm. long, orange yellow, its lobes darker, the lateral lobes broadly ovate, 5 mm. long, with a spinelike dorsal appendage 1-2 mm. long ; free tepal about 4.3 cm. long, 2 cm. wide, ovate-lanceolate, its apex obtuse, scarcely apiculate ; stamens 5, fully developed, their filaments 1.5 cm., anthers 2.5 cm. long.

Male bud in advanced blooming narrow-turbinate, acute, the bracts convolute at the tip ; bracts rather narrowly lanceolate, lower ones about 10 cm. long, 4 cm. wide, obtuse, dark pink or pale crimson without, rather dull but not glaucous, sulcate, the inner surface at first almost white, striate, later darkening almost to the same colour as the outside. Bracts lifting one each day but persisting two days so that there are usually two open at once, then deciduous : whole bud usually aborting before the fruit is ripe.

Male flowers 5 - 3 per bract ; compound tepal 4 cm. long, orange, paling to nearly white at base, the lobes bright orange, about 4 mm. long, lateral ones with a short, recurved, spinelike dorsal appendage, the accessory teeth nearly as long as the lobes ; free tepal 3.5 cm. long, 1.3 cm. wide, oblong, obtuse, sometimes jagged-toothed near apex and irregularly truncate, scarcely apiculate.

Fruit tip to 7 cm. long, 1.5 cm. in diameter, obsoletely 3 - 4-angled at maturity, narrowed gradually to a short (5 mm.) pedicel and similarly to a truncate apex, scarcely acuminate ; pericarp 1.5 mm. thick, ripening greenish yellow ; pulp white.

Seeds black, angulate-depressed, tuberculate, 5 - 6 mm. across and 3 mm. high."

(Cheesman 1949 i).

Height to 1.5m. Pseudostem glossy red-green, slender. Leaves oblong, about 1m long and 15 cm wide, glossy green above, somewhat waxy beneath midrib pink-tinged. Inflorescence erect, rachis red, bracts red and strongly revolute, peduncle pubescent, flowers yellow. Fruit pale greenish-yellow, spotted red.

[from Argent, RHS 1956, Griffiths and Huxley].

Pseudostems clumped, 1.5 - 2 m. Petiole ca. 30 cm, margin narrow and open ; leaf blade deep green, ovate-oblong, not more than 1 m., base asymmetric, apex obtuse. Inflorescence erect or ascending, becoming pendulous, ca. 20 cm. ; rachis brown puberulent. Bracts reddish, ovate-lanceolate, 7.5 - 14 cm. Flowers borne on proximal bracts, 3 per bract, in 1 row. Compound tepal bright yellow, ca. 3.8 cm., apex of outer lobes with a hook-like appendage ; free tepal yellow, equalling compound tepal, membranous. Berries grayish yellow-green with red blotches, trigonous oblong, 5 - 7.5 cm. Seeds numerous, black, ca. 5 mm. in diam., irregularly multiangled, tuberculate. 2n = 22.

(Wu & Kress 2000).

References Argent 1984, Backer & Bakhuizen 1968, Champion 1967: 42, Cheesman 1949i, Flora Xizangica, Griffiths 1994, Häkkinen 2007 (here), Hooker 1872 (, Huxley 1992, INIBAP, RHS 1956, Sagot 1887 : 330, Simmonds 1956 : 484, Simmonds 1960 : 204.
Comments The author of this species is the younger Hooker, J. D. Hooker, abbreviated to Hook f.. Some texts use the abbreviation Hook. implying wrongly that the author is W. J. Hooker.

The species was first described from a plant growing at RBG Kew and seems to be best known from cultivated material rather than wild. There is some slight doubt whether the living material described by Cheesman (from cultivated plants in Java) is precisely the same as the plant described by Hooker (from India?) and Cheesman himself gave his identification of the species as provisional. Simmonds 1956, while accepting M. sanguinea sensu Cheesman, has cautioned that the Rhodochlamys are poorly known in the field, prone to hybridisation and that those hybrids are likely to be mistaken for natural species.

Introduced into U.K. horticulture around 1872 but not currently commercially available or probably extant. (B.M. 5795)

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last updated 01/05/2008