18. Musa sikkimensis Kurz MUSACEAE

Unlike the cultivated bananas, the fruits of this wild species are full of large, hard seeds. Whereas most species of banana are truly tropical, this one, which occurs between altitudes of 1320 and 1920 metres in the East Himalaya, in Sikkim and Bhutan, is more hardy. It was first collected by Joseph Hooker in Sikkim, but not formally described until 1878 by Sulpiz Kurz, curator of the herbarium of the Calcutta Botanic Garden. The Lepchas, the indigenous people of Sikkim, knew the plant as ‘tiang-moo-foo-goom’, and regarded it as slightly more edible than some of the other wild species with large seeds.

Watercolour of fruit of Musa sikkimensis and seed made by J.D. Hooker in Sikkim, 1848

     

    RBGE Living Collections Accession Factsheet
    Accession Number:19972809
    Scientific Name:Musa sikkimensis Kurz
    Family:Musaceae
    Genus:Musa
    Epithet:sikkimensis
    Collector:Edinburgh Expedition to Northern Sikkim (1996)
    Year:1996
    Origin:India, Bangladesh & Pakistan:Sikkim:North Dist.:N bank of Rate Chu, W of bridge
    Elevation:1,730m
    Plant:19972809A
    Location:/Living Collections/Unplaced
    Plant:19972809B
    Location:/Living Collections/Unplaced
    Plant:19972809C
    Location:/Living Collections/Inverleith/G17/0020
    DSC_8842.JPG
     Location: 27.390278,88.642222