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Family Musaceae
Musa textilis Née sensu Baker
Jiao na

Scientific names Common names
Musa abaca Perr. [Invalid] Abaca manila (Tag.)
Musa amboinensis Miq. Abaca (Tag., Engl.)
Musa mindanaensis Miq. Abaca fiber (Engl.)
Musa textilis Née Manila hemp (Engl.)
Musa tikap Warb..  
Musa troglodytarum var. textoria Blanco  
Musa textilis Née is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
BURMESE: : Ma-ni-la lhyau-ping.
CATALAN: : Abaca, Cánem de Manila.
CHINESE: Jiao na, Ma ni la ma.
DANISH: Abaca, Manila hemp.
FRENCH: Bananier á fibres, Chanvre de Manille.
GERMAN: Faser-Banane, Manilahanf.
ITALIAN: Abaca, Canapa di Manila.
JAPANESE: Abaka, Manira asa, Manira ito bashou.
MALAYALAM: Naaru vazhai.
POLISH: Banan manilski.
PORTUGUESE: Abacá, Cánhamo-de-Manila.
RUSSIAN: Abaka, Banan tekstil'nyj, Manil'skaia konoplia.
SPANISH: Abacá, Cañamo de Manila.
SWEDISH: Manilahampa.
TAMIL: Naaru vazhai.

Gen info
- Abaca plant is indigenous to the Philippines, a banana species, and part of traditional agriculture in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines.
- Abaca rope used to be one of the major exports of the Philippines; however, that market has been greatly reduced and supplanted by the use of nylon for cordage.
- Abaca revival came with the discovery of its alternative use as fiber: specialty papers, use in condensers, tea and coffee filters, cable insulation, currency and coniferous pulp in paper production, along with abaca handicrafts and textiles. (3)
- The abaca plant matures at about 20 feet, and harvested 2 to 4 times a year after an initial growth period of 18-25 months, with a total lifespan of up to 25 years. The trunk cut down above the roots to harvest the fibers. The fiber is extracted from the sheaths (the bottom part of the leaves forming the pseudo-stem) by hand-stripping or by a machine. (8) (14)
- The abaca plant has striking similarity with the banana plant. differing in that the fruit of abaca is inedible. (8)
- Of the estimated global annual production of 82,000 tons, the Philippines produce 67,000 tons, with Ecuador producing about 14,000 tons. (14)

Abaca is an evergreen perennial, growing to a height of 4 to 6 meters, with clumps of large pseudo-stems up to 30 centimeters in diameter. Ground runners along the ground take root at each segment to form new plants. Leaves are dark green and oblong, light green on the underside. Fruits are indelible, containing irregular shaped seeds. (4)

- Indigenous to the Philippines.
- Commercial cultivation for its fiber.
- Grown in Borneo and Sumatra.
- Also grown as commercial crop in Ecuador and Costa Rica.

- Study of leaf fibers for chemical composition yielded lignin content of 13.2% of total fiber. Py-GC/MS analysis released compounds predominantly arising from lignin and p-hydroxycinnamic acids, with high amounts of 4-vinylphenol. Extractives content of abaca fiber (0.4%) was low, and predominant compounds were free sterols (24% of total extract) and fatty acids (24%), along with significant amounts of steroid ketones (10%), triglycerides (6%), w-hydroxyfatty acids (6%), monoglycerides (4%), fatty alcohols (4%), and a series of p-hydroxycinnamyl (p-coumaric and ferulic acids), and with minor amounts of steroid hydrocarbons, diglycerides, a-hydroxyfatty acids, sterol esters, and sterol glycosides. (7)
- The sheaths contain the valuable fiber, composed mainly of cellulose, lignin, and pectin. (14)
- Study od EtOAc fraction of stem bark of Alnus japonica yielded a new cyclic diarylheptanoid, alnuheptanoid B (3), along with four known cyclic diarylheptanoids viz., myricanone (1), (+)-S-myricanol (2), myricanone 5-O-ß-D-glucopyranoside (4), and (+)-S-myricanol 5-O-ß-D-glucopyranoside (5). (18)

- Considered the strongest of natural fibers, durable, resistant to salt water damage, and completely biodegradable. (4)
- Study has suggest hypoglycemic property.

Parts used
Leaf stem, flowers, sap.


- Leaf stem and flowers used to treat wounds and reduce blood pressure. (9)
- In Davao, Philippines, the Matigsalug tribe use the plant for relapse. (12)
- The Higanon tribe of Rogongon, Iligan City, Mindanao use young shoots to treat diarrhea: The shoots are spartly roasted, then squeezed, and the sap or juice drunk thrice daily. (13)
- Sap used on wounds to induce blood clotting.
- Fiber: Considered the strongest of natural fibers. An increasing popular source of fiber for pulp. In Japan, used for making special paper
for construction of movable room walls. (4)
- Crafts and other products: Rope, paper, rugs, dye mats, furniture, carpets, manila envelope, banknotes, tea and coffee bags, cigarette filter papers, sausage casing, disposable papers, among many others. (8)
- Potential uses: Roofing tiles, floor tiles, hollow blocks, boards, reinforcing fiber concrete and asphalt; wigs and grass skirts; fuels (musafel). (15)

Lignin-Carbohydrate Complexes:
Two types of lignins occur in different lignin-carbohydrate fractions: a lignin enriched in syringyl units, less condensed, and preferentially associated with xylans, and a more condensed lignin, with more guaiacyl units, associated with glucans. Biomass fractionation procedure yielded lignin-carbohydrate complexes (LCC) from the fibers of sisal (Agave sisalana) and abaca (Musa textilis). Study isolated two LCC fractions i.e., glucan-lignin (GL) and xylan-lignin (XL), which differed in content and composition of carbohydrates and lignin. (5)
• Alternative Suture: Study evaluated the potential of abaca as alternative suture in measures of tensile strength and gross and histologic tissue reaction in surgically incised wounds in Sprague-Dawley rats. Results showed abaca was comparable to both silk and nylon in terms of tensile strength and tissue reaction, and suggested a potential as cost-effective alternative to commercially available nonabsorbable sutures. (6)
• Chemical Composition of High Quality Paper Pulps / Leaf Fibers: Study evaluated the chemical composition of leaf fibers used for high-quality paper pulp production. (see constituents above) (7)
• Tensile Strength: Indonesian study of abaca strands recorded a maximum tensile strength of 189.24 MPa, which suggests a potential as alternative material in biocomposite. (10)
• Blood Glucose Lowering / Synergism with Glibenclamide / Fruit Skin: Study evaluated the glucose tolerance effect of methanol extract of fruit skin of wild banana species, Musa textilis in mice. In oral glucose tolerance tests, the methanol extract of fruit skins of M. textilis significantly and dose-dependently reduced blood glucose levels in glucose-loaded mice. Administration with glibenclamide showed a synergistic lowering effect. Results suggest the MEMT can be used as a blood glucose lowering agent in diabetic patients. (11)

In the news
Research breakthrough in abaca being stymied by a clueless bureaucrat:
This newspaper commentary bemoans efforts by bureaucratic pwers that be to stymy breakthrough in abaca hybrid research. The hybrid are undergoind final testing for adaptation, productiviy and resistance to bunchy-top virus. While the fibers coming from virus-resistant backcross progenies have slightly less tensile strength thann true abaca varieties making them less desirable for cordage purposes, they are comparable with traditional abaca varieites for pulp, paper, textile, and other industrial uses which are increasing the dominant and more profitable market for abaca. Read more. . . (Manila Bulletin: Dr Emil Q Javier; March 16, 2019) (17)

- Commercial cultivation.

January 2019

IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph / Musa textilis / © PRG / click on photo to go to source page / PRG: Plant Resistance Gene Wiki
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Botanical Illustration of Manila Hemp (Musa textilis) / 1879 / Public Domain / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph /flower (Musa textilis) / © Xishuangbanna Tropical Botamical /garden / click on image to go to source page / Chinese Acedemy of Science

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Sorting Passiflora names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The Univers ity of Melbourne. Australia.

Sorting Musa names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia.
The Role of Abaca (Musa textilis) in the Household Economy of a Forest Village / Celeste Lacuna-Richman / Small-Scale Forest Economics, Management and Policy, 2002; 1(1): pp 93-101 / DOI: 10.1007/s11842-002-0007-x
Musa textilis Nee / Plants For A Future
Lignin-carbohydrate complexes from sisal (Agave sisalana) and abaca (Musa textilis): chemical composition and structural modifications during the isolation process. / Del Rio JC, Prinsen P, Cadena EM, Martinez AT, Gutierrez A, Rencoret J / Planta, 2016 May; 243(5): pp 1143-1158 / doi: 10.1007/s00425-016-2470-1. 
Abaca (Musa textilis) as an alternative suture: A comparative study of tissue reaction and tensile strength. / Christine O del Monte, Romeo L Villarta Jr, Teresa Luisa Gloria-Cruz, Abegayle Machelle M Perez / Philippine Journal of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, 2001 Quarterly, 16(1): pp 15-24
Chemical Composition of Abaca (Musa textilis) Leaf Fibers Used for Manufacturing of High Quality Paper Pulps / Jose C del Rio, Ana Gutierrez / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2006; 54 (13): pp 4600–4610 / DOI: 10.1021/jf053016n
The Abaca Plant / Philippine Herbal Medicine
Review on a herbal anticoagulant - Indian Musa species / S. Jayakumari, R. Thiyagarajan, R. Saranya Devi, S. Loganayaki, A. K. Abinaya / Drug Invention Today, 2018; 10(1)
TENSILE STRENGTH OF ABACA STRANDS FROM SANGIHE TALAUD ISLANDS / Alfred Noufie Mekel, Rudy Soenoko, Wahyono Suprapto and Anindito Purnowidodo / ARPN Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Aug 2016; 11(15)
IMPROVED ORAL GLUCOSE TOLERANCE WITH METHANOL EXTRACT OF MUSA TEXTILIS NEE AND SYNERGISTIC ACTION WITH GLIBENCLAMIDE / Anju Faridi Lopa, Khoshnur Jannat, Abdul Hamid and Mohammed Rahmatullah / World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 2018; 7(17): pp 204-210
Ethnobotanical Practices of Matigsalug Tribe on Medicinal Plants at Barangay Baganihan, Marilog District, Davao City / Charisse Pearl B. Guevara and Melanie M. Garcia / Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medical Research, 2018; 6(3): pp 1-14
Medicinal Plants Used by the Higaonon Tribe of Rogongon, Iligan City, Mindanao, Philippines / Lilybeth F. Olowa, Mark Anthony J. Torres, Eduardo C. Aranico and Cesar G. Demayo / Adv. Environ. Biol., 2012; 6(4): pp 1442-1449
Musa textalis / Daniel Mosquin / May 2008 /
Abaca Fiber (Manila Hemp): Uses/Application of Abaca Fiber / Textile Learner
Musa textilis / Synonyms / The Plant List
Research breakthrough in abaca being stymied by a clueless bureaucrat / Dr Emil Javier, NAST (National Academy of Science and Technology) and CAMP (Coalition for Agricultural Modernization of the Philippines) / Manila Bulletin: March 16, 2019

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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