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PLANT FAMILY: Costaceae
BOTANICAL NAME: Costus pictus
FORMAL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus pictus D.Don
SYNONYMS: Costus hieroglyphica,
This is an accepted neo-tropical Costus species described as early as 1833. Some plants were previously listed as C. mexicanus, but have been included in C. pictus by Maas, Flora Neotropica , 1972. The species can be recognized by its green non-appendaged bracts, open type flowers with yellow corolla and red-striped labellum, short ligule, and inconspicuous or absent callus on the bracts. Note that the illustration in Maas 1972 (page 76) seems to show appendaged bracts, but this species clearly has NON appendaged bracts and is described as such by Paul Maas.
There are at least four distinct forms of this species. Additional information and photos can be found on separate web pages:
The type is from a botanical illustration since the original plant from Mexico, cultivated in England was lost. Maas did not designate a neotype. The distribution listed by Maas 1972 is the northern parts or Central America, from southern Mexico to Costa Rica. A GBIF query also shows collections in Belize, but none in Costa Rica. The Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica does not include this species and makes the following statement: "Costus pictus D. Don (sin. C. congestus Rowlee), de mas al norte de Mesoamerica, quizas ha sido cultivada en San Jose; sin embargo la identidad del Ășnico especimen (Malavassi 2 (F), de Barrio Santa LucĂa) no es segura. Plantas de esta sp. podrĂan ser identificadas en la siguienteclave como C. laevis, pero tienen lĂgulas (2--4 mm) mas cortas, hojas uniformemente verdes, y labelo amarillo con lĂneas rojas." indicating there are no verified collections in Costa Rica and potential confusion with Costus laevis. I have traveled extensively in Costa Rica and have not seen this species in the wild there, although I did see a cultivated specimen of the 'Hieroglyphics' form in a garden at the Heliconias Lodge Tenorio (in the north not far from Nicaragua). I was told they thought it was collected locally many years ago.
Finca Irlanda, Chiapas, Mexico, Latitude 15.1738, Longitude -92.336, at 1000 meters elevation.
Finca Irlanda, Chiapas, Mexico, Latitude 15.1738, Longitude -92.336, at meters elevation.
Finca Chiripa, Isla de Aventura, Chiapas, Mexico, Latitude 15.16584, Longitude -92.30666, at 836 meters elevation.
Near Manecal, Chiapas, Mexico, Latitude 15.32, Longitude -92.5, at meters elevation.
Road to Morelos, Chiapas, Mexico, Latitude 15.22, Longitude -92.44, at 700 meters elevation.
along Rio Cuilco, trail to Cascada San Francisco, Chiapas, Mexico, Latitude 15.085, Longitude -92.32, at meters elevation.
along Rio Cuilco, trail to Cascada San Francisco, Chiapas, Mexico, Latitude 15.085, Longitude -92.32, at 300 meters elevation.
Along road to Cascada Monte Cristo, Chiapas, Mexico, Latitude 15.2, Longitude -92.5, at 225 meters elevation.
Cascada Monte Cristo, Chiapas, Mexico, Latitude 15.2, Longitude -92.5, at 225 meters elevation.
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