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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 3108

Costus varzearum


OLD NAME: Costus varzearum

NEW NAME: Costus varzearum

NAME CHANGE NOTES:

FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus varzearum Maas

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.)
GOOGLE PHOTO ALBUM

SYNONYMS:
- Costus claviger sensu Maas (1972)

BOTANICAL NOTES:
Costus varzearum is an accepted species of neotropical Costus described in 1976 by Paul Maas from a collection he made with Prance along the Rio Jurua near Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil in 1971. It is characterized by its green appendaged bracts with yellow open-labellum flowers, distinguished by the very long ligule up to 50 mm and the purplish undersides to the leaves and sheaths. All the living plants I have seen also have wavy margins to the leaves. The inflorescence in most cases is borne at the top of a leafy shoot in which most of the leaves are congested to the top. This species usually grows to no more than 1.5 meters tall.

The most unusual thing about this species is its habitat. It grows in seasonally flooded "varzea" forests of the Amazon basin in southeastern Peru and southwestern Brazil. In 2019 I saw this amazing species in habit, flowering in knee deep water near its type localtiy in Acre, Brazil. Based upon collection records, it flowers only in the rainy season when the rivers are in flood stage, but in cultivation it grows and flowers reliably in normal potting medium.

A preliminary phylogeny was completed by Eugenio Valderrama and his associates in the Chelsea Specht Lab at Cornell University and was published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science in September 2022. Three samples of this species were included in the molecular phylogeny, including my R1394 purchased at a local nursery and my R3487 collected along the Rio Tarauacá in Acre, Brazil. They were in a well supported clade in a separate lineage closest to Costus arabicus and other species that are common in the same region of southwestern Brazil and southeastern Peru.

HORTICULTURAL NOTES:
Based on information at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) this species is in ex situ cultivation at 29 botanical gardens world wide. I have found this species to be relatively easy to grow in my garden and greenhouses at Le Jardín Ombrage.

ACCESSIONS:Click links (if any) to see details of individual collections. R1394- R2939- R2940- R2984- R2994- R3282- R3477- R3487-


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Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 3108
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Costus varzearum, photo from Maas, Jana DSC00305a - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 327 Accession# R0
Costus varzearum, photo from Maas, Jana DSC00305a


Costus varzearum, in flower in habitat in flooded forest, Rio Croa, Acre, Brazil - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 328 Accession# R0
Costus varzearum, in flower in habitat in flooded forest, Rio Croa, Acre, Brazil


Costus varzearum type specimen - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 542 Accession# R0
Costus varzearum type specimen