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Musa textiles N’ee

Musa textiles N’ee




Musa abaca Perro, Musa min­danaensis Rumph. ex Miquel.

Vernacular Names


Pisang manila, pisang benang.


Abaca, abacá, Manila hemp.


Abaka, pi sang manila (general), Manila hennep (Dutch).


Abaká, abacá, abaca.


Chu[oo]i soi.


Abaca, chanvre de Manille, bananier à fibres.

Geographical Distributions

Musa textiles is originated in the Philippines. The wild plants have spread southward into Borneo and islands south of the Philippines, such as Sangihe Island (Indone­sia). Until the 1920s, attempts to establish com­mercial abaca cultivation outside the Philippines did not succeed, thus M. textiles was obtained from the Philippines only. However, to decrease the depen­dency on the Philippines, the United States suc­cessfully introduced M.textiles into Central America in the 1920s. M.textiles cultivation in Ecuador started after the Second World War. The crop has also been grown successfully in Malaysia (northern Borneo), Indonesia (Sumatra) and New Guinea.


Musa textiles is a tufted, perennial herb which can grow up to 8 m tall. It grows in a clump (hill) and is very similar to an edible banana plant. It consists of 12-30 or more pseudostems in different stages of development (when matured and undis­turbed).

The corm is cylindrical, short, bearing buds that develop short rhizomes with suckers, and with numerous slender adventitious roots. Pseudostem (formed by the leaf sheaths) is cylindrical, measures 2.5-6 m tall, 15-20 cm in diameter at the base, mostly green but sometimes irregu­larly streaked deep brown, red, purple or even al­most black towards the base and it bears up to 12 leaves. The petiole-like sheath is 40-50 cm long and stiff. The leaf blade is narrowly oblong, measuring 150-200 cm x 40-60 cm, wedge-shaped and unequal at the base. It is rounded or acute at the top, generally of uniform deep-green above and glaucous beneath.

The inflorescence arises from the rhizome, borne on an erect, long pedun­cle which its greatest part is included in the pseudostem, bearing a drooping racemiform spike, consisting of an axis with transversely arranged, 1-2-seriate groups (hands or combs) of 10-12 flow­ers where each group is in the axil of a bract. The bracts are lance­-shaped, measuring 30-35 cm x 10-12 cm, closely overlap, deciduous, leathery, green, slightly shaded with pink outside and dull brown inside. The male flowers are in the upper part of inflorescence, measure about 4 cm long, deciduous, with 5 slightly exserted sta­mens and one pistillode. The female flowers are in the basal part of inflorescence (first 3-6 nodes). The ovary is 5 cm long, inferi­or, 3-locular and with numerous ovules. The fruit bunch is horizontal and lax.

The fruit is a berry, narrow­ly ovoid or ellipsoid, measuring 5-8 cm x 2-5 cm, obsoletely curved at maturity, and narrowed at the base into a stout truncate stipe about 7 mm long. The pericarp is 1 mm thick and green when ripens. The pulp is scanty, pale buff and ined­ible. The seeds are numerous, nearly spherical-turbinate, very irregular in shape, measuring about 2-3 mm x 3-4 mm, smooth and black.

Ecology / Cultivation

Musa textiles is a plant of the hot and humid tropics. The present zone of successful cultivation lies between approximately 5°S and 15°N latitude. In the Philippines, it is usually grown in regions below 500 m with a well-distributed annual rainfall of 2000-3200 mm, an average temperature of about 27°C and relative humidity of about 80%. M.textiles is easily damaged by strong winds; in the Philippines, windbreaks and cover trees are planted in typhoon-prone areas. It grows best on friable well-drained loams, rich in organic matter and potash, and is sensitive to waterlogging.

Line Drawing / Photograph



1.       Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.17: Fibre plants.

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