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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 03-08-2007, 05:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

These are Rob's pictures of a seeded banana growing in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA. I've eliminated a bunch of seeded species, but I sure can't place it! Any ideas? The flower pic is kind of out of focus, and for that Rob apologizes! J/K Rob!




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Old 03-08-2007, 08:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

When I first saw these awhile back I thought maybe they were M. itinerans by the fruit, but that does not look right at all now. Then I thought maybe M. sikkimensis but that does not match either. The closet description Im thinking now is M. thomsonii. It would be nice to see a photo of the seeds if possible.
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Old 03-08-2007, 08:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

It reminds me of Mysore, so maybe an indian variety is somewhere on the right track..
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Old 03-08-2007, 09:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

Some more info from Rob (hey Rob...weigh in here!). The pseudostems are about 28" in diameter. Leaf + petiole length is about 10'. Pseudostem height about 20'. The fruit is about 6" long, and apple/pear flavored.

Hey Gabe, some characteristics of this plant do remind me of M. thomsonii, like the semi-pendulous infloresence, and the waxy bloom on the upper pseudostem. The fruits of this plant are much larger than M. thomsonii though, and the leaves look to be wider and rounded at the base, unlike M. thomsonii's narrower, lanceolate leaves.

You know, it does resemble what has been sold as M. itinerans here at Agri-Starts and Banana-tree.com (but looks like M. yunnanensis). The fruit bunch doesn't look quite right though.

I'm thinking it could be a hybrid. Gabe, can you direct Markku over here to have a look?
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Old 03-09-2007, 04:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

That pretty much covers it. The seeds looked exactly like my M. sikkimensis that I got mail order last year, but I'm no expert. They were about the same size also. The grove was growing in pretty much all-day complete shade. I'll be out there in a few days and maybe I'll get better pictures (and pictures of ripe fruit and seed if those in the photo are ripe and still on the plant).
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Old 03-10-2007, 06:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

Gabe,

Why don't you think it's sikkimensis? I think the fruit and stalk looks alot like sikkimensis...
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

There is clearly some wax on the petioles, M. sikkimensis does not have wax on mature plants. It could be a hybrid, it looks very similar to M. sikkimensis except for the wax in my opinion.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

I agree with Gabe. I am not getting "Thomsonii Vibes" here. The regular sikkimensis doesn't have that heavy wax-deposit. I also noticed the leaf-shapes looking like typical balbisiana, wich don't resemble sikkimensis at all. The fruit & flower looks identical to that I have seen of sikkimensis. But it looks very much like my musa helens. Could also be Musa sikkimensisX "Darjeeling giant" wich apparently is a hybrid between sikkimensis and balbisiana.

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Old 03-10-2007, 10:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

Ya after looking around a bit more, definetly not M. thomsonii.
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Old 03-10-2007, 06:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

I really don't think that bloom looks like sikkimensis. Check out this link to a guy in GA, who has posted here once or twice, of his M. sikkimensis blooming. It tapers off rather abruptly, instead of the smooth taper of the plant I posted. Sikkimensis bloom also looks darker. I've never seen any wax on Musa sikkimensis either.
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Old 03-10-2007, 11:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

Interestingly enough, there is wax on the plant posted in that link. When I saw the many giant stands of M. sikkimensis at the Huntington, none of them had wax at all.
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Old 03-10-2007, 11:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

Ha! Good eye, Gabe! Funny I didn't even notice that, I was so focused on the flower. So perhaps M. sikkimensis is a variable species, as Simmonds wrote about a long time ago, and we could be looking at a few different forms in cultivation now.
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Old 03-11-2007, 12:44 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

the flower in the link looks oddly purple to me. all the photos of sikkimensis i have seen show purpleish outsides but red insides, like many common edible bananas. also there are odd markings on the ends of the ovaries that i have not seen in sikkimensis.
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Old 03-11-2007, 10:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Cold Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

I dug this up from The Musaceae website regarding M. sikkimensis:

Quote:
Simmonds also noted specimens from Assam, Sikkim and Manipur, and possibly varietally distinct differences between them, and thought it possible that the species "ranges widely over the higher ground between Tibet and Burma".
Simmonds, 1956.
It is indeed a variable species, as Simmonds said, and these different areas that sikkimensis grows could have been isolated from each other for long enough to make this come about. The Himalayas are such an interesting area of the world!
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Old 03-11-2007, 11:29 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

I would say if the seed looks like M. sikkimensis, then this plant is just that.
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Old 03-12-2007, 01:44 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

If it quacks like a duck.... it must be sikkimensis.

Any chance of seeing a picture of the seeds?

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Old 03-12-2007, 06:06 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

Yes, seed pictures are coming soon! That should definitely help to settle it. I agree with M. sikkimensis now also...tentatively, LOL!
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Old 03-15-2007, 05:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

OK, here are the seeds. Not the best quality picture, but my camera batteries were about to die. After seing these, I'm pretty sure that it is Musa sikkimensis. They are a bit smaller on average than M. sikkimensis seeds I've received in the past, but have the same, irregular, angular shape.

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Old 03-16-2007, 01:22 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

The seeds show this plant is in the neighborhood of sikkimensis. But again, I think most likely it's Musa SikkimensisX or "Helen". Especially since the seeds are smaller. But could also be regular sikkimensis.
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Old 03-16-2007, 08:44 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID

Erlend, I don't think that it's 'Helen', as that is still an awfully new introduction, and this plant seems to be very well-established. These seeds are also black, whereas the 'Helen' seeds that I've received have been rather gray in color.
I did have a couple of dead M. sikkimensis seeds lying around, and used them as reference. They were noticeably larger, but the same, irregular shape. I think it could be a M. sikkimensis X also, or just M. sikkimensis. Whatever it is, I look forward to growing it in my yard!
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