Costus asplundii Costus talbotii

Above left is the beautiful neotropical species Costus asplundii. Above to the right is the African species Costus talbotii.

GENUS COSTUS


Costus is the largest and most diverse genus in the plant family Costaceae. There are about 52 accepted species names in the neotropics and 29 species in Africa. In English speaking areas they are known as "spiral gingers" and as "caƱa agria (sour cane)" in most Spanish speaking areas. They are not true gingers as this plant family was split off from the true ginger family about 30 years ago.

As a large genus with a wide geographical distribution, they are quite diverse in form. Some Costus species have small tubular flowers, others have broad spreading labellums. Some have foliaceous appendages to the bracts, some are lacking the appendages and are shaped more like a cone. Some plants flower terminally at the top of the leafy stems and some flower below on leafless or nearly leafless stems - sometimes with both flowering forms on the same plant. Some Costus species lie flat on the ground and some are as tall as 5 meters (15 feet) or more. The showy bract colors are green, red or yellow and the flower colors can be almost pure white, red, yellow, orange, pink - with shades that approach nearly any color but blue or black.

As garden plants, most are restricted to frost-free climates, but there are about 8 species that are reliably hardy and can be grown outdoors as far north (or south) as USDA zone 8B or the equivilent. Many of them are compact enough to be grown in pots and stored indoors over winter. Generally Costus are shade plants that grow in the forest understory in their native habitats, but many will tolerate full sun or nearly full sun given sufficient moisture.

Here I have already broken my own rule and tried to generalize these plants when in reality they are so diverse that it is impossible, so please click on the species links below to read in more detail about individual taxa of this wonderful genus.

Welcome to the Gingers R Us Plant Database at SiteGround

PLANT ID GENUS SPECIES SUBSP/VAR/CULTIVAR
Click to load #3453Costus


Click to load #7557Costus

'Belieze Chocolate'
Click to load #7411Costus

'Beliz Yellow'
Click to load #7184Costus

'Buddha Belly'
Click to load #7578Costus

'California Dreaming'
Click to load #7530Costus

'Carla'
Click to load #7183Costus

'Darth Vader'
Click to load #7260Costus

'El Whiskey'
Click to load #7575Costus

'Firebird'
Click to load #7561Costus

'French Kiss'
Click to load #3352Costus

'Green Mountain'
Click to load #7491Costus

'Hello Yellow'
Click to load #4121Costus

'Hot Lips'
Click to load #7579Costus

'Longhair'
Click to load #7558Costus

'Maroon Ruffles'
Click to load #7518Costus

'Mellow Yellow'
Click to load #7569Costus

'Mongrel'
Click to load #7480Costus

'Moonluster'
Click to load #4069Costus

'Morning Sun'
Click to load #3732Costus

'November Red'
Click to load #7406Costus

'Orange Conch'
Click to load #7447Costus

'Peru Yellow'
Click to load #7446Costus

'Peruvian Pineapple'
Click to load #4070Costus

'Peruvian Pink'
Click to load #7478Costus

'Phoenix'
Click to load #7593Costus

'Pink Floyd'
Click to load #7563Costus

'Pink Panther'
Click to load #7453Costus

'Rancho Sunrise'
Click to load #7533Costus

'Rattler'
Click to load #7520Costus

'Red Ball'
Click to load #7566Costus

'Red Baron'
Click to load #7407Costus

'Red Feathers'
Click to load #7594Costus

'Reina Rosada'
Click to load #7564Costus

'Reinaldo'
Click to load #7455Costus

'Southern Cross'
Click to load #7291Costus

'Tena'
Click to load #7302Costus

'Tico Sunrise'
Click to load #7458Costus

'Tico Tower'
Click to load #7289Costus

'Tropicais'
Click to load #7521Costus

'World Traveler'
Click to load #4034Costus
acreanus

Click to load #7590Costus
acutissimus

Click to load #6083Costus
adolphi-friderici

Click to load #3430Costus
afer

Click to load #7597Costus
albiflos

Click to load #4868Costus
albus

Click to load #3351Costus
allenii

Click to load #7544Costus
allenii
Bahia Solano form
Click to load #7299Costus
allenii
Santa Fe form
Click to load #7550Costus
allenii aff.
Anchicaya form
Click to load #3216Costus
amazonicus

Click to load #7467Costus
amazonicus
subsp. amazonicus
Click to load #4862Costus
amazonicus
subsp. krukovii
Click to load #6085Costus
anachiri

Click to load #6086Costus
ananassae

Click to load #7359Costus
anomocalyx

Click to load #3594Costus
arabicus

Click to load #3236Costus
arabicus
variegated form
Click to load #7365Costus
araneosus

Click to load #6087Costus
argenteus

Click to load #4110Costus
asae

Click to load #3595Costus
asplundii

Click to load #7528Costus
asplundii aff.
Nangaritza form
Click to load #4870Costus
asteranthus

Click to load #4039Costus
atrosanguineus

Click to load #7598Costus
aureus

Click to load #6088Costus
bakeri

Click to load #3074Costus
barbatus

Click to load #4871Costus
beckii

Click to load #7405Costus
beckii aff.
'Alans Red'
Click to load #7366Costus
bicolor

Click to load #6089Costus
bingervillensis

Click to load #3752Costus
bracteatus

Click to load #4002Costus
brasiliensis

Click to load #4003Costus
cernuus

Click to load #4065Costus
chartaceus

Click to load #5172Costus
chinensis

Click to load #7273Costus
chrysocephalus

Click to load #4040Costus
ciliatus

Click to load #4047Costus
claviger

Click to load #7425Costus
claviger (aff. claviger)

Click to load #7377Costus
claviger (aff. claviger)
'Aloha'
Click to load #7465Costus
claviger (aff. claviger)
'Marco's Pride'
Click to load #7523Costus
claviger (aff. claviger)
Manu form
Click to load #4035Costus
comosus

Click to load #7376Costus
comosus
'Cliff Dweller'
Click to load #4863Costus
comosus
var. bakeri
Click to load #7586Costus
comosus
var. bakeri - horticultural plant "barbatus"
Click to load #6125Costus
comosus
var. comosus-maritimus
Click to load #6092Costus
congestus

Click to load #4605Costus
cordatus

Click to load #4603Costus
cupreifolius

Click to load #4317Costus
curvibracteatus

Click to load #7454Costus
curvibracteatus
'Pocosol'
Click to load #7471Costus
curvibracteatus aff.
sp. nov. - basal flowering forms
Click to load #3771Costus
cylindricus

Click to load #6093Costus
cylindricus
var. acreanus
Click to load #6094Costus
cylindricus
var. anachiri
Click to load #6095Costus
cylindricus
var. ciliatus
Click to load #6096Costus
cylindricus
var. pulcherrimus
Click to load #3754Costus
deistelii

Click to load #7370Costus
dendrophilus

Click to load #4872Costus
dewevrei

Click to load #6097Costus
dhaninivatii

Click to load #7279Costus
dinklagei

Click to load #3725Costus
dirzoi

Click to load #3596Costus
discolor

Click to load #3597Costus
dubius

Click to load #6098Costus
dussii

Click to load #7357Costus
edulis

Click to load #4608Costus
erythrocoryne

Click to load #7387Costus
erythrocrinus
'Eskimo Kiss'
Click to load #3431Costus
erythrophyllus

Click to load #7300Costus
erythrophyllus
'Grey Ghost'
Click to load #7351Costus
erythrophyllus
'Silver Leaf'
Click to load #7584Costus
erythrophyllus
Santa Maria form
Click to load #4111Costus
erythrothyrsus

Click to load #7599Costus
fenestralis

Click to load #6099Costus
fimbriatus

Click to load #7503Costus
fissicalyx

Click to load #7577Costus
fissiligulatus

Click to load #7581Costus
fissiligulatus
var. major
Click to load #7374Costus
foenculaceus

Click to load #6100Costus
foliaceus

Click to load #4874Costus
formosanus

Click to load #4004Costus
formosus

Click to load #5229Costus
fortalezae

Click to load #7352Costus
friedrichsenii

Click to load #4875Costus
gabonensis

Click to load #6101Costus
gagnepainii

Click to load #4609Costus
geothyrsus

Click to load #7391Costus
giganteus

Click to load #4877Costus
glaber

Click to load #7360Costus
glabratus

Click to load #3599Costus
glaucus

Click to load #6103Costus
gracilis

Click to load #7600Costus
gracillimus

Click to load #6104Costus
guanaiense

Click to load #3726Costus
guanaiensis

Click to load #7529Costus
guanaiensis
aff. var. guanaiensis 'Emerald Crinkles'
Click to load #7531Costus
guanaiensis
aff. var. guanaiensis 'Sweet Charlotte'
Click to load #7464Costus
guanaiensis
aff. var. macrostrobilus Bilsa plicate
Click to load #7609Costus
guanaiensis
aff. var. macrostrobilus Siete Cataratas
Click to load #7605Costus
guanaiensis
aff. var. tarmicus - Huanuco
Click to load #7526Costus
guanaiensis
aff. var. tarmicus Atalaya orange form
Click to load #7527Costus
guanaiensis
aff. var. tarmicus MLC red form
Click to load #4005Costus
guanaiensis
var. asplundii
Click to load #7585Costus
guanaiensis
var. guanaiensis
Click to load #3433Costus
guanaiensis
var. macrostrobilus
Click to load #3600Costus
guanaiensis
var. tarmicus
Click to load #4204Costus
guianicus

Click to load #6106Costus
hasseltii

Click to load #7353Costus
hirsutus

Click to load #7166Costus
hybrid
'arabicus x malortieanus'
Click to load #5235Costus
hybrid
scaber X lasius
Click to load #3730Costus
igneus

Click to load #6107Costus
insularis

Click to load #4864Costus
juruanus

Click to load #4865Costus
juruanus
var. strigosus
Click to load #6109Costus
kaempferoides

Click to load #7274Costus
kingii

Click to load #6110Costus
kunstleri

Click to load #6111Costus
kuntzei

Click to load #7601Costus
kupensis

Click to load #3601Costus
laevis

Click to load #7509Costus
laevis
aff. laevis 'El Gato'
Click to load #7418Costus
laevis
aff. laevis 'Lemon Chiffon'
Click to load #7517Costus
laevis
aff. laevis 'Lita Red'
Click to load #7541Costus
laevis
aff. laevis 'Nirvana'
Click to load #7525Costus
laevis
aff. laevis 'Tulipe'
Click to load #7537Costus
laevis
aff. laevis Podocarpus form
Click to load #7592Costus
laevis
aff. laevis Pubescent Zamora forms
Click to load #7611Costus
laevis
maximus form
Click to load #7610Costus
laevis
skutchii form
Click to load #3602Costus
lasius

Click to load #4878Costus
lateriflorus

Click to load #4893Costus
laterifolius

Click to load #6114Costus
latifolius

Click to load #3696Costus
laviger

Click to load #6115Costus
laxus

Click to load #6116Costus
ledermannii

Click to load #4879Costus
letestui

Click to load #3603Costus
leucanthus

Click to load #7556Costus
leucanthus
'Vertigo'
Click to load #7562Costus
leucanthus X lima

Click to load #3731Costus
ligularis

Click to load #7602Costus
lilaceus

Click to load #3435Costus
lima

Click to load #4048Costus
lima
var. scabremarginatus
Click to load #6119Costus
lima
var. wedelianus
Click to load #4881Costus
litteralis

Click to load #7559Costus
loangensis

Click to load #4006Costus
longebracteolatus

Click to load #7410Costus
longebracteolatus
'Kiss of Death'
Click to load #6121Costus
longifolius

Click to load #7603Costus
louisii

Click to load #3436Costus
lucanusianus

Click to load #7264Costus
lucanusianus
var. major
Click to load #4899Costus
lucanusianus
yellow flowering form
Click to load #6122Costus
luteus

Click to load #5233Costus
Maas species A

Click to load #5234Costus
Maas species B

Click to load #4882Costus
maboumiensis

Click to load #7372Costus
macranthus

Click to load #6123Costus
macrostrobilus

Click to load #3604Costus
maculatus

Click to load #3217Costus
malortieanus

Click to load #6124Costus
malortieanus
var. amazonicus
Click to load #6126Costus
maximus

Click to load #3755Costus
megalobractea

Click to load #6127Costus
mexicanus

Click to load #6128Costus
micranthus

Click to load #7275Costus
microcephalus

Click to load #4883Costus
monosperma

Click to load #3756Costus
montanus

Click to load #6129Costus
mooreanus

Click to load #5198Costus
mosaicus

Click to load #7367Costus
nemotrichus

Click to load #7248Costus
nepalinense

Click to load #6130Costus
ngouniensis

Click to load #7604Costus
nimba

Click to load #4607Costus
nitidus

Click to load #7565Costus
nitidus aff.
Monteverde Marsh
Click to load #7361Costus
niveo-purpureus

Click to load #4205Costus
niveus

Click to load #4884Costus
nudicaulis

Click to load #6131Costus
nutans

Click to load #7354Costus
oblitterans

Click to load #7231Costus
oligophyllus

Click to load #3516Costus
osae

Click to load #4042Costus
osaense

Click to load #7369Costus
pauciflorus

Click to load #6132Costus
paucifolius

Click to load #4886Costus
phaeotrichus

Click to load #6133Costus
phlociflorus

Click to load #3757Costus
phyllocephalus

Click to load #3075Costus
pictus

Click to load #3349Costus
pictus
'Hieroglyphics'
Click to load #7583Costus
pictus
'San Francisco Red'
Click to load #7582Costus
pictus
Chiapas form
Click to load #7486Costus
pictus
Planta Insulina
Click to load #7451Costus
pictus
red stemmed form
Click to load #6134Costus
pilgeri

Click to load #6135Costus
pilosissimus

Click to load #7373Costus
pistiifolius

Click to load #4606Costus
plicatus

Click to load #3838Costus
plowmanii

Click to load #6137Costus
podocephalus

Click to load #7400Costus
prodigiosus

Click to load #3789Costus
productus

Click to load #7445Costus
productus
'Barbatus Dwarf'
Click to load #4066Costus
productus
'Emerald Chalise'
Click to load #4170Costus
productus
'Maroon Chalice'
Click to load #6138Costus
productus
var. strigosus
Click to load #7356Costus
pterometra

Click to load #6139Costus
pubescens

Click to load #6140Costus
pubescens
forma fibrillosa
Click to load #6142Costus
puchucupango

Click to load #6143Costus
pulcherrimus

Click to load #4007Costus
pulchriflorus

Click to load #7382Costus
pulverulentus
'Pink Lips'
Click to load #7519Costus
pulverulentus
'Purple Passion'
Click to load #3353Costus
pulverulentus
Central American plants-MAIN PAGE
Click to load #7588Costus
pulverulentus
Ecuadorian plants with closed corolla
Click to load #7589Costus
pulverulentus
Short forms with pink/white bracts
Click to load #6144Costus
pumilus

Click to load #6145Costus
pumilus
var. pilosissimus
Click to load #4887Costus
pungens

Click to load #4008Costus
quasi-appendiculatus

Click to load #7368Costus
radicans

Click to load #4206Costus
ramosus

Click to load #4867Costus
ricus

Click to load #7534Costus
ricus aff.
Cerro Tute form
Click to load #7276Costus
ridleyi

Click to load #6146Costus
rosulifer

Click to load #7061Costus
ruber

Click to load #6147Costus
rumphianus

Click to load #6148Costus
rurrenabaqueanus

Click to load #3942Costus
sanguineus

Click to load #4364Costus
sanguineus aff

Click to load #4888Costus
sarmentosus

Click to load #4896Costus
sarzcarum

Click to load #3607Costus
scaber

Click to load #7452Costus
scaber
Central American forms
Click to load #7574Costus
scaber
Indian Head form
Click to load #7424Costus
scaber
Osa thin stem form
Click to load #7466Costus
scaber
South Americanforms
Click to load #7535Costus
scaber aff.
'Twister'
Click to load #4207Costus
scaberulus

Click to load #6149Costus
schlechteri

Click to load #5231Costus
sepacuitensis

Click to load #6151Costus
sinningiaeflorus

Click to load #6152Costus
sinningiiflorus

Click to load #4009Costus
skutchii

Click to load #7261Costus
sp.
-Fairchild #992157
Click to load #7469Costus
sp.
-Herbarium Quito
Click to load #7495Costus
sp.
-misc unidentified
Click to load #7510Costus
sp.
-MLC-Yellow Bracts
Click to load #7416Costus
sp.
-NTBG tagged 990323
Click to load #7427Costus
sp.
-Red Appendaged Bracts, Hitoy-Cerere
Click to load #4897Costus
sp.
-Smithsonian90-016
Click to load #7587Costus
sp.
Lyon #80 0702
Click to load #7538Costus
sp.
R3189-'SigSig'
Click to load #7549Costus
sp.
R3195-San Juan Bosco
Click to load #7548Costus
sp.
R3196-Mendez
Click to load #7547Costus
sp.
R3197-Sangay
Click to load #7543Costus
sp.
R3227-Choco orange bract Eduarodo
Click to load #7539Costus
sp.
R3230-Quindio native
Click to load #7542Costus
sp.
R3235-Nirvana from choco
Click to load #7551Costus
sp.
R3237-Nirvana like spiralis
Click to load #7554Costus
sp.
R3254-Alta floresta Brazil
Click to load #7568Costus
sp.
R3300-Los Mogos
Click to load #7596Costus
sp.
R3360-Nusagandi short plicate
Click to load #7607Costus
sp.
R3378-Chacahuasi with pink inflo., pub. leaves,
Click to load #3608Costus
spectabilis

Click to load #3225Costus
spicatus

Click to load #6156Costus
spicatus
var. pubescens
Click to load #2372Costus
spiralis

Click to load #7536Costus
spiralis
Green Bract form from Peru
Click to load #4010Costus
spiralis
var. hirsutus
Click to load #6157Costus
spiralis
var. jacquini
Click to load #6158Costus
spiralis
var. roscoei
Click to load #4866Costus
spiralis
var. villosus
Click to load #7606Costus
spiralis aff.
green bract Huanuco
Click to load #6159Costus
splendens

Click to load #4604Costus
sprucei

Click to load #4011Costus
steinbachii

Click to load #3227Costus
stenophyllus

Click to load #7355Costus
subbiflorus

Click to load #7277Costus
sulfureus

Click to load #3506Costus
talbotii

Click to load #3439Costus
tappenbeckianus

Click to load #6160Costus
tarapotensis

Click to load #7522Costus
tarapotensis aff.
'Morning Star'
Click to load #6161Costus
tarmicus

Click to load #6162Costus
tatei

Click to load #7362Costus
trachyphyllus

Click to load #7375Costus
ubangiensis

Click to load #5232Costus
ulei

Click to load #7358Costus
ulugurensis

Click to load #6163Costus
uniflorus

Click to load #6164Costus
validus

Click to load #3758Costus
vargasii

Click to load #7404Costus
vargasii
'Raspberry Yogurt'
Click to load #3108Costus
varzearum

Click to load #6165Costus
velutinus

Click to load #4051Costus
verschaffeltii

Click to load #3354Costus
villosissimus

Click to load #3839Costus
vinosus

Click to load #4889Costus
violaceus

Click to load #4858Costus
warmingii

Click to load #6166Costus
weberbaueri

Click to load #4049Costus
wilsonii

Click to load #3695Costus
woodsonii

Click to load #4602Costus
zamoranus

Click to load #7363Costus
zechii

Click to load #5175Costus
zerumbet

Click to load #3759Costus
zingiberoides



Copyright © 1999-2015 Dave Skinner