Musa textilis or abacá is a species of banana which is grown mainly its fibers known as Manila hemp.
Cultivated mainly in the Philippines and Ecuador, it can be grown throughout the tropics.
The fibers are extracted from the leaf stems that form the pseudo-stem.
This banana can reach a height of 1.5-6 m, the diameter of the pseudostem can measure up to 30 cm in diameter at the base.
The leaves are 1-2 m long and 60 cm wide.
The inflorescence is purple to mauve.
The fruits measure 10-25 cm long. They are green, yellow or brown, cylindrical or angular and may or may not contain seeds. The fruits are inedible.
Harvesting of the fibers starts 1.5 to 3 years after planting and takes place over a period of 6-15 years.
The fibers were first used for fabrication of homemade fabrics and ropes. The fibers are stronger than those of hemp and more resistant to sea salt, making them particularly suitable for marine cables.
Currently, the biggest part of Manila hemp production is used for the production of paper.
Musa: from the Arab muza (banana)
Textilis: from the Latin textilis (fabric)
Abacá: common name in Tagalog
USDA zone 7, -13 °C without mulching
Nutritious and moist
- keep moist year round
- liquid universal fertilizer, once a week during growing season, once a month in the winter