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Title: Musaceae  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Musa (genus), Ernest Entwistle Cheesman, Abacá, Ensete lasiocarpum, Musa laterita
Collection: Commelinid Families, Musaceae
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Musa × paradisiaca
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Musaceae
  Musaceae distribution

The Musaceae ( or ) are a family of flowering plants, placed in the order Zingiberales. The family is native to the tropics of Africa and Asia. The plants have a large herbaceous growth habit with leaves with overlapping basal sheaths that form a pseudostem making some members appear to be woody trees. In most treatments, the family has two genera, Musa and Ensete. Cultivated bananas are commercially important members of the family.


  • Systematics 1
    • Genera 1.1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The family has been practically universally recognized by taxonomists, although with differing circumscriptions. Older circumscriptions of the family commonly included the genera now included in Heliconiaceae and Strelitziaceae.

The APG III system, of 2009 (unchanged from the APG system, 1998), assigns Musaceae to the order Zingiberales in the clade commelinids in the monocots.


As currently circumscribed the family includes either two or three Haarlem in the Netherlands.

Before 1753 the genus had already been described by the pre-Linnaean Musa paradisiaca L. for plantains and Musa sapientum L. for dessert bananas are now known to refer to hybrids, rather than natural species. It is known today that most cultivated seedless bananas are hybrids or polyploids of two wild banana species - Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. Linnaeus' Musa sapientum is now identified to be the hybrid Latundan cultivar (M. × paradisiaca AAB Group 'Silk'), while his Musa paradisiaca are now known to be hybrids belonging generally to the AAB and ABB banana cultivar groups.[2][3] Hybridization and polyploidy was the cause of much confusion in the taxonomy of the genus Musa that was not resolved until the 1940s and 1950s.[4]

In this clearing up of the taxonomy, Ernest Entwistle Cheesman in 1947 revived the genus name Ensete which had been published in 1862, by Horaninow, but had not been accepted.

Musa section Musella Franch. was raised to the rank of genus by H.W. Li in 1978 for the Chinese species Musella lasiocarpa, which was originally described in Musa in 1889 and transferred to Ensete by Cheesman in 1948. Acceptance of Musella has varied; as of February 2013, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families considers it a synonym of Ensete.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III" (PDF). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2): 105–121.  
  2. ^ "Musa sapientum". Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Musa paradisiaca". 
  4. ^ Michel H. Porcher; Prof. Snow Barlow (2002-07-19). "Sorting Musa names". The University of Melbourne, [3]. Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Musella", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families,  

External links

  • Preliminary analysis of the literature on the distribution of wild Musa species
  • Musaceae at the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website
  • Musaceae in the Flora of China
  • Musaceae in L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz (1992 onwards). The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, information retrieval. Version: 27 April 2006.
  • (USDA)Monocot families
  • NCBI Taxonomy Browser
  • links at CSDL
  • The Musaceae - an annotated list of the species [4]
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