Chamaecostus is a South American genus comprised of seven described species. This genus was split off from Costus in 2006 based on the molecular analysis work of Dr. Chelsea Specht. Previously they were classified by Dr. Paul Maas as a subspecies Cadalvena. The plants are low or very small plants less than 1 meter in height at maturity. Most species are found in areas with a very distinct dry season and have adapted thickened root tubers to sustain the plants during the dry season, when they go partly or completely dormant. The inflorescences are all terminal on leafy stems and the flowers often brightly colored and showy with broad, flat labellums.
In 2012 I traveled to the Alta Floresta area of Mato Grosso State in Brazil to see these plants in habitat. My article for the Heliconia Society International quarterly Bulletin was published in the December 2012 issue.
Shown in photo: Chamaecostus lanceolatus subspecies lanceolatus