This page contains photos and description of a species, form or cultivar of Costaceae.

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 3087

Chamaecostus cuspidatus


OLD NAME: Chamaecostus cuspidatus

NEW NAME: Chamaecostus cuspidatus

NAME CHANGE NOTES:

FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Chamaecostus cuspidatus (Nees & Mart.) C.Specht & D.W.Stev.

STATUS : accepted

CONTINENT: Neotropical

FIELD OBSERVATIONS:(If field observations are available, you can click on the link to open in a new window.)
FIELD OBSERVATIONS

PHOTOS:(If photos are available, you can click on the link to open in a new window.)
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SYNONYMS:
- Costus cuspidatus Nees & Mart. (1823) - Costus igneus N.E.Br. (1884)

BOTANICAL NOTES:
Costus cuspidatus was first described in 1823, but for many years the species was known by its later synonym, Costus igneus, the name under which it was cultivated in England, grown from seeds collected in Bahia, Brazil. The genus was changed in 2006 to Chamaecostus based on the research of Chelsea Specht. It is easily recognized by its bright orange flowers. Chamaecostus cuspidatus is found in eastern parts of Brazil where it is very rare, listed there as an endangered species. It grows in areas where there is substantial rainfall with a distinct dry season and flowers primarily in the rainy season.

This species is widely cultivated as shown by the many listings in plant catalogs and books on tropical gingers, but it is rare in the wild. It comes from the Atlantic rainforest areas of eastern Brazil where habitat destruction has made this plant difficult to find. In January 2014, Thiago André and I went to the Santa Teresa area of Espirito Santo state in southeastern Brazil to look for Chamaecostus cuspidatus in its natural habitat. We found it growing in two places, both places at the base of large rocky outcrops and in rocky soil. Thiago noted that Chamaecostus species in general (unlike Costus species) tend to be widely scattered, but when the habitat is right they tend to colonize the immediate area. So they are locally common but not always easy to find. Thiago published results of phylogeny of Chamaecostus in 2015 and found that C. cuspidatus is in a clade very close to C. subsessilis samples from the eastern part of Brazil.

HORTICULTURAL NOTES:
Chamaecostus cuspidatus is common in cultivation and seems to be semi-deciduous. I have noticed that even in a period of normal dormancy, the plant can persist and grow through a dry time. Based on information at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) this species is in ex situ cultivation at 20 botanical gardens world wide.

There is a beautiful form in cultivation that has a silvery midrib to the leaves and purplish undersides. This form is from the Siteo Burle Marx near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but I have been unable to find out its origin in the wild. Tim Chapman has imported it to the United States and has established the cultivar name 'Silver Samba'.

ACCESSIONS:Click links (if any) to see details of individual collections. R1360- R3301-


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Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 3087
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Chamaecostus cuspidatus, photo from Maas, MO 2015 DSC_0169.jpg - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 9 Accession# R0
Chamaecostus cuspidatus, photo from Maas, MO 2015 DSC_0169.jpg


Chamaecostus cuspidatus, photo from Skinner R3301 from Espirito Santo, Brazil - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 8 Accession# R3301
Chamaecostus cuspidatus, photo from Skinner R3301 from Espirito Santo, Brazil


Chamaecostus cuspidatus, photo from Skinner R3301 from Espirito Santo, Brazil - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 10 Accession# R3301
Chamaecostus cuspidatus, photo from Skinner R3301 from Espirito Santo, Brazil