The genus Cheilocostus was split out from Costus in 2006 (see Reclassification of Costaceae). The accepted name of the genus in the Kew Science system has been changed from Cheilocostus to Hellenia, but a movement to conserve the name Cheilocostus has not yet been settled. Therefore, I am maintaining Cheilocostus on this website. These plants are from southeast Asia, New Guinea and tropical parts of Australia. They are distinguished by the sharp, pungent ends of the bracts and their tendency to branch along the stems.
The best known of these is Cheilocostus speciosus which is grown as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical climates world wide. Although there are only five recognized species, two of them (C. speciosus and C. globosus) are quite diverse and have long nomenclature histories, being currently lumped together from multiple species names of the past.