Musa haekkinenii is a wild species of banana from northern Vietnam. It was named after Markku Hakkinen, a former sea captain who embarked on a second career as a specialist of wild Musa in the 1970s1 . The species was first observed in 2008,2 but was described in 2012 by Ngoc-Sam Ly from material collected in the Phu Tho and Lang Son provinces in 2008 and 2010, respectively3 . It is locally referred to as Chuoi rung hoa do, chuoi rung meaning wild banana and hoa do meaning red inflorescence. However, its distribution in the wild is not known. It is known only as an ornamental in private gardens and nurseries.
Main morphological characteristics
Musa haekkinenii is a small plant (1 to 1.5 m high) that has an erect inflorescence and a slender pseudostem (3-4 cm in diameter). Its leaf habit is semi-erect and it produces 2 to 6 suckers close to the base of the mother plant. The persistent male bracts are bright scarlet on both surfaces and curved downward. The fruit position is oblique in relation to the axis3 .
Bract colour and behaviour, as well as fruit position distinguish it from Musa exotica, an otherwise similar species. In Musa exotica, the orange-red male bracts turn brown and ultimately fall off, while the fruit are perpendicular to the axis.
Distribution and habitat
According to the owners of the gardens where specimens were observed and collected, the species probably came from the mountain forests of northern Vietnam. However, visits to possible sites in 2008 and 2010 failed to locate any wild populations3 .
Living specimens of the species are kept at the Calicut Botanic Garden in Kerala, India, the Singapore Botanic Garden in Singapore and the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, France.
The climate in areas where the cultivated specimen were collected is monsoon tropical, with an average rainfall ranging from 1,560 to 1,850 mm3 .