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Species Bananas Discussions of all the different wild species of banana (non edible), an aspect of the hobby that deserves its own section.


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Old 10-16-2007, 05:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Musa basjoo 'Formosiana'(from Tawain)

It's hard to tell why they changed the name from Musa formosiana to Musa Basjoo 'Formosiana' since the two plants look nothing alike. The formosiana with it's really waxy pseudostem, with black dots looks alot more like Musa balbisiana, and that's what someone who didn't know the first thing about bananas pointed out when they were checking out the nanners at my place. I didn't get any pics of the overall leaf pics, but it looks basically like any other green edible banana at the stage it is at.


Here's a pic comparing the two basjoo's with regular on the right, and formosiana on the left.
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Old 10-16-2007, 08:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa basjoo 'Formosiana'(from Tawain)

There are a few things to consider regarding this plant.

1: As with many seed dealers, they really don't know what they are selling when it comes to new stuff. Much of the time, I see them literally just guess at what they think it might be, and pass it on as a legitimate name. So just because you bought the seed as that, it does not mean at all its correct.

2: Although not published yet, var. formosana (the true to type, real one, regardless of whether its in cultivation or not) is affiliated with the M. itinerans group and will most likely be renamed as a itinerans variety.
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Old 10-16-2007, 09:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa basjoo 'Formosiana'(from Tawain)

Gabe, you said it about the seed dealers! Anything to make a buck. Doesn't matter whether or not it's the real thing, as long as it has a name. Oh yeah...these seeds were from Trebrown in the UK.

Kyle, I should get a couple of pics of my biggest one. It has started to really take off recently. I'm afraid that it isn't Musa formosana though. The real Musa formosana has no wax anywhere on the foliage or pseudostem. I am curious as to what we do have, however! So far, it's an attractive young plant.
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Old 10-16-2007, 10:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa basjoo 'Formosiana'(from Tawain)

Phil of Trebrown said he harvested the seeds himself from the central mountains of Tawain at about 6,000 feet. I don't think he's an expert, so maybe he actually harvested some M.balbisiana? I didn't notice any leaf signs of it being balbisiana though, but maybe it will show up later. I sold both my formosianas to someone in Nor Cal zone 8, but I'll ask them how well they survived this winter after it's over.
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Old 05-08-2009, 06:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa basjoo 'Formosiana'(from Tawain)

Guys! Guys!
Like I've said before... I don't claim to be a banana expert, but this one is really not very difficult to work out. Musa formosana is common throughout the mountains of Taiwan. It is the only banana that grows at considerable altitude.
Altitude ranges from close to sea level (approx. 50 m) to 1,800 m in the northern parts of Taiwan. In the central region (where the seeds I sell originate) the plant ranges from 300 m to 1,800 m or a bit higher. I only look for the plants over 600 m, because there are some cultivars grown up to around the 300m alt. In the south of the island the plant, or the southern form of the plant grows from sea-level to only about (I think)1000 m. I have yet to see continuation between the southern form and the high elevation form. The one you've got from me is the high elevation form; the common one, as described: Musa formosana (Warb.) Hayata, Icon. Pl. Formosan. 6(Suppl.): 83 (1917).

Now to clear up misunderstandings about this plant. It has never been described as having waxy stems, but it has never been described as NOT having waxy stems either. However, as many of you have noticed the high elevation form does have somewhat waxy stems. The southern form does not.
The plant is clearly not part of the M. itinerans complex... M. formosana does not have remote suckering, pups are born directly off the parent rhizome. I have seen no bananas on the mainland of Taiwan that have remote suckering.

Here are some pictures taken at the highest elevation that I have found M. formosana. Just over 1,800 m alt. These pictures show the typical form of the plant. There are no differences between high elevation plants throughout the island. They all look like these:








As you can see, they are a common species amongst the conifer cloud forest at high elevation. This picture below is the southern form of Musa formosana growing at 150 m alt.:


There are no other species at these high elevations. There is absolutely no chance that these are not Musa formosana. Have I said that already?

Enjoy!

Warm regards to everyone.

Phil Markey - Trebrown Nurseries - UK
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa basjoo 'Formosiana'(from Tawain)

Hi Phil, thanks for these great pictures and information!
I am reasonably certain that the very last picture that you posted is not Musa formosana. It is more than likely a naturalized M. balbisiana, which is said to have naturalized in the south and southeast parts of Taiwan (HuiLung et al., Journal of Taiwan Agricultural Research; Musa balbisiana L. A. Colla, a newly naturalized wild banana in Taiwan. Volume: 56 Issue: 3 Pages: 215-223 Published: 2007). The purple bracts with no yellow coloration are uncharacteristic of M. formosana.

As for M. formosana, here are the morphological characteristics:

The characteristics of 140 Musa formosana (a native wild banana) clones, collected from Taiwan, were studied. M. formosana has stoloniferous suckers, red-purple streak in the lower epidermis and the vein at the 7th to the 10th leaf. The basal nodes bear hermaphroditic flowers which yields fruits, the bracts of the male buds exhibit yellow-green blotch and red-purple streak. The fruits are ageotropic with red-purple skin when mature, but turn deep-yellow after ripening. The seeds are black-brown in colour and flattened to angular in shape. On average, the pseudostem height is 1.9 m, pseudostem circumference is 0.28 m, ratio of leaf length and width is 3.29, petiole length is 0.31 m, 5 hands per bunch, 9 fingers per hand, fruit length and circumference ratio is 0.83, fruit pedicel length is 3.3 cm, fruit weight is 24.56 g, 100-seed weight is 3.91 g, and ratio of seed weight and height is 1.9.

(HueiLong et al., Journal of Agricultural Research of China, Morphological characterization of Musa formosana, Volume: 53 Issue: 3 Pages: 207-216 Published: 2004)

This document also has some good info. Most is in Chinese, but descriptors are in English. It does describe the pseudostem as having no wax: http://www.tari.gov.tw/taric/uploads...arc_53-3-6.pdf

I am a bit confused about the Musa formosana you have found having no remote suckering! Every piece of literature that I've read on M. formosana describes it as having "stoloniferous sucking." Even the pictures that you posted look like it forms fairly open clumps, with some pseudostems several feet away. I'm also intrigued by the color of the male bud in your pictures! Most pictures that I've seen of M. formosana have a yellow-colored bud, with streaks of purple, but that picture shows a mostly purple bud with some yellow in it. Clearly, it does look like M. formosana though! Perhaps you have discovered a new variety?

I need to post some new pictures of the plants I grew from the seed you sold a few years ago. They are massive plants, even though they are in small pots! They are the same plants as the one that Kyle posted in this thread, only much larger now.

Phil, thanks for making M. formosana seeds available again on your great website! I've ordered 100 of them, and look forward to growing them. I'll make sure to post pics if and when I get some to sprout! I hope you don't take this post as trying to contradict you...I'm just trying to better understand exactly what it is we are looking at, and sharing what I know and have read on the subject. Thanks,

Frank



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Old 05-08-2009, 11:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa basjoo 'Formosiana'(from Tawain)

Quote:
M. formosana has stoloniferous suckers
Correct me if I'm wrong Frank. I understand "Stoloniferous" to mean propagative shoots near the parent plant producing cormels and bearing stolons. From what I understand Musa itinerans has remote suckering "Soboliferous" with shoots arising some distance apart from rhizomes or under ground suckers.

I'll be back in Taiwan in August. Christian Port is accompanying me. We shall dig a little and report back with exactly what we see.

Many of the young plants near mature ones are in fact seedlings. This might confuse things in the pictures.

Quote:
I'm also intrigued by the color of the male bud in your pictures! Most pictures that I've seen of M. formosana have a yellow-colored bud, with streaks of purple, but that picture shows a mostly purple bud with some yellow in it.
I would say that the colour is usually dark red, sometimes more purplish, and with yellow blotches or streaks in it.

Interesting what you say about M. balbisiana being in Taiwan. Yes I agree, they do look somewhat like M. balbisiana. But these are very common, and in places where you wouldn't perhaps expect an introduction to be. Some are a considerable distance from the last observation, and I'm talking maybe 60 miles apart in wilderness areas.

Thanks!

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Old 05-08-2009, 01:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa basjoo 'Formosiana'(from Tawain)

I've just been reading the report you posted Frank
Quote:
Musa balbisiana L. A. Colla, a newly naturalized wild banana in Taiwan
I know the Taiwan Agricultural Research Station in Kenting very well. There are a lot of these bananas around there. The pictures in the report are exactly what I've been seeing. It also mentions Kenting, and in particular the Kenting Forest Recreation Area. This is where I first came across this plant and where the majority of the plants can be found. But like I said, they can be found over a very wide area of wilderness. The report also mentions that they are in Chiayi and Hualien. Two places a very long (hundreds of miles) distance apart with 3000 m mountains separating them. These can only be separate introductions, and not be natural re-distributions.

I conclude that the last picture in my list is Musa balbisiana. This species does not reach areas of the native populations of M. formosana. M. formosana in the south of Taiwan does not extend down to lower elevations enough to meet M. balbisiana. There is a region of dry, mountain grassland and scrub forest in the lower mountains of Taiwan, which M. formosana does not extend into, and in which I have not seen (yet) M. balbisiana reach as high as.

Very good! Job done! Unless anyone disagrees.

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Old 05-08-2009, 02:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa basjoo 'Formosiana'(from Tawain)

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilMarkey View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong Frank. I understand "Stoloniferous" to mean propagative shoots near the parent plant producing cormels and bearing stolons. From what I understand Musa itinerans has remote suckering "Soboliferous" with shoots arising some distance apart from rhizomes or under ground suckers.
Stoloniferous means that the plant sends out either rhizomes or stolons from the parent plant, in this case it would be rhizomes, since they are underground. In one of those papers, it is listed as one of the distinguishing characteristics between M. formosana and M. balbisiana. As I understand it, a sobole is a short rhizome, but I'm not really clear on the differences. Although doing a Google search, it does look like quite a few other non-rhizomatous bananas are described as stoloniferous also! So that could be confusing. Here's part of the abstract of the paper I am referring to:

M. balbisiana could be easily distinguished from M. formosana native in Taiwan by having no stoloniferous suckers, highly and robust pseudostems, more or less glaucous leaf-sheaths and petioles, glabrous peduncle and rachis, dark purple-red bracts, no revolute bracts when lifted, occasionally persistent bracts after flowering and irregular globose seeds.



Quote:
I'll be back in Taiwan in August. Christian Port is accompanying me. We shall dig a little and report back with exactly what we see.
I look forward to a report!

Best,

Frank
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:30 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa basjoo 'Formosiana'(from Tawain)

Phil,
Are the seeds you are selling the same ones as you sold previously?
Are the seeds you are selling from plants like the ones in the first few pics, or the balbisiana looking one in the last pic?
Thanks
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Old 05-31-2009, 01:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa basjoo 'Formosiana'(from Tawain)

Hi Kyle,
I do not currently have any Musa balbisiana var. liukiuensis seeds (Last picture). But I will have these again at the end of August. The seeds that I am selling right now in the Trebrown shop are pure Musa formosana collected by myself at high elevation Taiwan (All the previous pictures).
It appears the seeds I sold before as Musa formosana were in fact Musa balbisiana var. liukiuensis seeds sold in error.

Regards,
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Old 06-01-2009, 02:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa basjoo 'Formosiana'(from Tawain)

Alright, thanks for clearing that up, I'll be placing an order soon.
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