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IUCN: not evaluated
Family: MUSACEAE Genus: Musa Species: textilis Species Author: Née Vernacular: Abaca, Manila Hemp
It is sometimes referred to as "BacBac".
The leaves grow from the trunk of the plant, and the bases of the leaves form a sheath (covering) around the trunk; there are approximately 25 of these, with 5 cm in diameter and from 12 to 25 leaves with overlapping petioles, covering the stalk to form a shrub, "false trunk" or pseudotrunk about 30 to 40 cm in diameter. They grow in succession, with the oldest growing from the bottom of the trunk and successively younger ones from the top. The sheaths contain the valuable fibre. The coarse fibres range from 5 to 11½ feet (1.5 to 3.5 metres) in length. They are composed primarily of the plant materials such as cellulose, lignin, and pectin. After the fibre has been separated, it is sold under the name Manila, the capital of the Philippines.
Musa textilis is a species of banana native to the Philippines, grown widely as well in Borneo and Sumatra.
The plant is of great economic importance, being harvested for its fibre, once generally called Manila hemp, extracted from the leaf sheath around the trunk. On average, the plant grows about 20 feet (6 metres) tall. The fibre was originally used for making twines and ropes as well as the Manila envelope; now most abacá is pulped and used in a variety of paper-like products including filter paper and banknotes. It is classified as a hard fibre, along with coir, henequin and sisal.
We currently have 2 herbarium specimens for Musa textilis in our collection. Click on any specimen below to view the herbarium sheet data.