Musa itinerans Cheesman var. formosana (Warb.) Häkkinen & C. L. Yeh is one of the three wild bananas in Taiwan and represents the taxon previously recognized as M. formosana (Warb. ex Schum.) Hayata [≡ M. basjoo Siebold & Zucc. ex Iinuma var. formosana (Warb. ex Schum.) S. S. Ying]. The gross morphology of M. itinerans var. formosana is stable. Some populations without variegation on the pericarps and the bracts of male buds were mainly found in a restricted area of northeast Taiwan. The morphological characteristics of the nonvariegated populations are otherwise similar to those of M. itinerans var. formosana. Their principal distinction is based on the absence of the purplish red streaking on both the pericarps and the male, fertile bracts. This character of nonvariegation is stable across the taxon's habitat and as cultivated through a 9-year period of observation. From molecular evidence, the DNA sequence for the ITS region of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) is highly similar in both populations. The nonvariegated population is herein segregated as the new variety, M. itinerans var. kavalanensis H. L. Chiu, C. T. Shii & T. Y. A. Yang. Photos for the three varietal taxa, M. itinerans var. chinensis, variety formosana, and variety kavalanensis, and a key to Taiwanese wild bananas are also provided.
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