Musa zebrina

Musa zebrina J. . Planchon ex L. B. Van Houtte, Fl. Serres Jard. Eur. 10: 223, t. 1061 - 62 (1854-55).

Accepted name Musa acuminata L. A. Colla subsp. zebrina (Van Houtte ex Planchon) author not known to me
Synonyms 1. Musa zebrina J. . Planchon
2. Musa zebrina J. . Planchon ex C. A. Backer, Hanboek voor de Flora van Java 3 : 135 - 136 (1924).
3. Musa malaccensis H. N. Ridley, Trans. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. Ser. 2. 3 : 385 (1893).
4. 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).
Authorities I have inferred the accepted name.

The "synonyms" are from:

1. Merely a "shortened form" of the full name given by Argent 1984 as a synonym of Musa acuminata.
2. Cheesman 1948b.
3. Cheesman 1948b (although this is now considered a separate subsp. of M. acuminata).
4. GRIN & Hotta (1989)

The World Checklist of Monocotyledons lists Musa zebrina Van Houtte ex Planch., Fl. Serres Jard. Eur. 10: 223 (1855) as a synonym of Musa acuminata subsp. acuminata which is given as the accepted name.

Section Eumusa (Musa) 1
Distribution Indonesia (Java)
References Argent 1984, Cheesman 1948b: 19, Graf Exotica, Griffiths 1994, GRIN, Hotta 1989, RHS 1956.
Comments According to Cheesman this "was a plant originating from some seeds that germinated spontaneously in the hothouse of Louis Van Houtte among orchid material sent from Java. It happened to be one of the extremely pigmented forms of the species under discussion [Musa acuminata Colla] in which the leaves are purplish beneath and copiously blotched and barred above with purplish brown markings"

A number of horticultural 'forms' of some of this 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 to one subspecies or another. However, some plants may indeed be distinct clonal 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.

According to RHS 1956 Musa zebrina is probably a form of Musa malaccensis which itself Musa acuminata subsp. malaccensis. According to Graf Exotica Musa sumatrana (from Sumatra) is a smaller and more cold-tolerant plant than Musa zebrina (from Java).

Introduced to U.K. horticulture about 1820.

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last updated 02/05/2008