GingersRus is a trademark of Le Jardin Ombragé
Click on logo above to go to GingersRus HOMEPAGE.
Want to buy some rare gingers? Check out my commercial site. CLICK HERE to see what is available.

Datasheet for Costus pictus

Plant Datasheet for Costus pictus

CLICK HERE for a detailed botanical description and identification key for this species (opens in new window).
CLICK HERE to see a description of accession #R1818 . (opens in new window).
CLICK HERE to see a description of accession #R2888 . (opens in new window).
BUY THIS PLANT from Gingers R Us (opens in new window).

PLANT FAMILY: Costaceae
BOTANICAL NAME: Costus pictus
FORMAL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus pictus D.Don
STATUS :Accepted
CONTINENT: Neotropical
SYNONYMS:
Costus hieroglyphica,

BOTANICAL NOTES:
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 widely cultivated 'Hieroglyphics' form at PID3349
The "Red Stem" form at PID7451, a/k/a "Planta Insulina" PID7486 introduced to Puerto Rico
The Chiapas Mexico yellow flowering form at PID7582
The Chiapas Mexico red flowering form, dubbed 'San Francisco Red' at PID7583
GO TO THE LINKS ABOVE TO SEE THE PHOTOS OF THESE DIFFERENT FORMS

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.

ACCESSION NOTES:

OBSERVATION NOTES:

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.

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Costus pictus flower Costus pictus is a species found from Mexico to Costa Rica and there is some variability in form. The listing here is for the form with the patterned stems and is sometimes sold as "Costus hierogliphica" - a take off on this pattern which is reminiscent of Egyptian hieroglyphics. It has tropical looking wavy foliage. It usually blooms at the top of the stems but occasionally also produces basal blooms. The flowers are beautiful yellow lip and red and yellow stripes on a cone of green bracts.

Costus pictus grows to about 5 ft tall in part shade to nearly full sun. This is the easiest of all the spiral gingers to grow, as it seems to be able to handle a wide range of soil and sunlight. It is rated as being root hardy to zone 8, but I would not be surprised if it could handle colder areas. It can be propagated very easily from stem cuttings. One winter I struck some cuttings in the ground with no rooting hormone just a few days before we were hit with an early winter hard freeze. I never expected them to take, but in the spring I had nearly 100% of them sprouting new growth and by the end of the summer they were 5 ft tall. For best results, Costus pictus should be grown in 4-5 hours direct sun, in rich moist organic soil.


Patterned canes and sometimes basal blooms.

Copyright © 1999-2016 - Dave Skinner, GingersRus.com
All text and images on this page are copyrighted. They may be downloaded and/or printed for personal use and scientific research, but may not be published in paper or electronic media without my express consent. They absolutely may not be used commercially in any way whatsoever without my express consent. To inquire about permissions, contact skinnerd@nettally.com