Musa formosana

This was originally submitted as a question on our old Trebrown forum.

“Hello! (sorry in advance for my bad english) I received today my orders, all is perfect, thank you. I ordere Musa formosana and I looked for some informations about this specimen and I found nothing. Could you please give me another name or a link with internet or a title of a book (French books on banana are very rare! Thanks in advance. Regards. Hervé”

Young Musa formosana plant in the mountains of Taiwan. Copyright © Phil Markey

Young Musa formosana plant in the mountains of Taiwan. Copyright © Phil Markey

These are the official names given at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/wcsp/home.do

Musa basjoo var. formosana (Warb.) S.S.Ying, Mem. Coll. Agric. Natl. Taiwan Univ. 25: 100 (1985). === Musa formosana (Warb.) Hayata Musa formosana (Warb.) Hayata, Icon. Pl. Formosan. 6(Suppl.): 83 (1917). Taiwan. 38 TAI. Herb. phan. * Musa × paradisiaca var. formosana Warb.

This is a locally common species in the mountains of Taiwan. But until now it is totally unknown in cultivation.

Kew have now officially recognized the name ‘Musa formosanaMusa formosana (Warb.) Hayata, Icon. Pl. Formosan. 6(Suppl.): 83 (1917). Taiwan. 38 TAI. Herb. phan. * Musa × paradisiaca var. formosana Warb.

I just ordered these seeds from you a month or so ago, and am wondering what the performance has been in the UK? I think seeds were introduced previously, but I’m not sure. It’s supposed to look like a dwarf Basjoo right? Thanks Kyle.

Musa formosana banana plant with fruit. High mountains of Taiwan. Copyright © Phil Markey

Musa formosana banana plant with fruit. High mountains of Taiwan. Copyright © Phil Markey

Kyle, I did bring some over 3 years ago, but I didn’t sell any and I killed all the ones I grew through neglect. As far as I know nobody other than myself has had them in cultivation until now (2006). They can grow quite a bit larger than M. basjoo. Well taller anyway! It depends on the environment. If I had my scanner working I would show you some pictures. I collect the seeds myself, and I have seeds from 3 different locations. One location is the highest locality in the north of Taiwan (all of these seeds I’m growing myself to test hardiness against the others). The seeds that I’m selling come from high altitude central Taiwan. I’ll have more of these here soon. And I also have some that came from much lower altitude in the south of Taiwan. These plants were the tallest of the 3. They’re all germinating well, and the plants are coming on. But it will take a while to know the hardiness extent. I’ll be looking for Musa insularimontana on Lan yu island on my next Taiwan expedition. I guess you’d be interested in those Kyle.

See the Musa formosana species information in the Trebrown Species Database