Musa Oa

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Cultivar Name

Musa 'oa'



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It grows above Io Valley on Maui. Pope (62, p. 46) believes that they Hawaiians planted the seed "for some medicinal purpose', but informants know of no such use. Thrum (70, p.80) reports that it was brought to Oahu from Kona, Hawaii. Trunk and foliage are dull green tinted with bronze and purple. Oa is unique in having flattened seeds that will reproduce the plant, borne in a tough placenta which is not edible. According to Pope (62, p. 46): "This variety is of value to the banana breeder, because a portion of its flowers are perfect and through self-pollination produce seeds becoming viable in the mature fruit. The staminate flowers produce an abundance of pollen, which also may be used in crossbreeding banana varieties. The Maia-oa is probably a distinct species and was most likely introduced by Polynesians for some medicinal purpose. Considered an ornamental, trunks are dull green with purplish to dark brown splotches. Petioles washed with reddish brown, underside of leaf is bronze and purplish red. Inedible 2-3" fruit with seeds, green with hard skin.

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