Musa abaca Perr.
Musa amboinensis Miq.
Musa mindanaensis Miq.
Musa tikap Warb.
Musa troglodytarum textoria Blanco
Common Name: Abaca
The fibre drying amongst a plantation of the plants
Photograph by: John Washington
GNU Free Documentation License
Abaca is a tall, herbaceous, evergreen perennial plant growing up to 6 metres tall with leaves that can be 2 metres long and 60cm wide[
]. The plant produces a clump of large pseudostems up to 30cm in diameter at the base, that make it appear rather tree-like. These stems grow up from a perennial stoloniferous rootstock[
Abaca is one of the most important fibre plants in the world, and it is cultivated for its fibre on a large scale in the Philippines, and to a much lesser extent in Sumatra, Ecuador and Central America[
]. Total production, however, has dropped considerably since the introduction of synthetic fibres.
Southeast Asia - Philippines.
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A plant of the hot, humid tropics adapted to an average relative humidity of about 80%[
]. The present zone of successful cultivation lies within the latitudinal range 15°N and 5°S. In the Philippines it is usually grown in regions below 500 metres in elevations but it can be grown in the tropics at altitudes between sea level and 1100 metres[
]. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature falls within the range 20 - 29°c, but can tolerate 16 - 33°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,800 - 3,000mm, tolerating 700 - 4,400mm[
Prefers a sunny position[
]. Plants can succeed in most humus-rich, fertile soils, so long as they are well-drained[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, though it can tolerate 4.5 - 8[
]. Prefers a position sheltered from strong winds.
A perennial plant, growing for 18 - 36 months years before first harvest and with a economical life of 6 - 15 years[
In the Philippines, the annual fibre yield ranges from 0.31 - 1.71 t/ha, while in Ecuador, yields are between 1.5 - 2.5 t/ha[
The sclerenchym fibres of the leaf sheaths are used to make ropes for ships and nets that are resistant to salt-water[
]. The fibre is also used to make sacks, cloth etc[
]. In Japan it is used for making special paper for the construction of movable room walls[
]. With the advent of synthetic fibres, demand for this plant has been reducing, though it is becoming increasingly popular as a source of fibre for pulp[
Division of suckers with a portion of the rhizome[
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