THE ROLE OF MUSACAE IN ETHIOPIAN AGRICULTURE I. THE GENUS ENSETE

T. Bezuneh
The genus Ensete, proposed by Horananious in 1862, (Baker and Simmonds, 1953), was further established by Cheesman (1947) as a genus separate from Musa. This separation of the two genera was based mainly on the differences in chromosome numbers and on pseudostem morphology. The basic chromosome number in Ensete was reported to be 9 whereas that of Musa was observed to be 9, 10, and 11.

Lane (1955) pointed out that Ensete differed from Musa in being monocarpic, that is, dying after bearing fruits only once. He also indicated that the 'T shaped' embryos and granulose papillose pollen grains of Ensete were absent from species of Musa.

The pseudostems of Musa are generally uniform in diameter and are successively replaced by new shoots that proliferate from the bases of the old pseudostems (Simmonds, 1960). According to Moore (1957) and Bezuneh et al (1966), Ensete has a single pseudostem, normally dilated at the base, from which new pseudostems emerge only when artificially induced, that is, when the stem of the central inflorescence is removed from the pseudostem. Moore (1957) in his review of Musa and Ensete included the following species in the latter genus:

Ensete gilletii (DeWildeman) Cheesman, is native to West Africa from Sierra Leone to Angola and is ecologically adapted to drier regions.

Ensete ventricosum (Welwitsch) Cheesman, represents perhaps 70 per cent of the Ensete types cultivated in Ethiopia.

Ensete superbum (RX.) Cheesman is native to India.

Ensete homblei (Bequaert. ex. DeWild.) Cheesman is distributed in the Congo (Kinshasa) and Zambia.

Bezuneh, T. (1971). THE ROLE OF MUSACAE IN ETHIOPIAN AGRICULTURE I. THE GENUS ENSETE. Acta Hortic. 21, 97-100
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1971.21.16
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1971.21.16

Acta Horticulturae