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Photo# 11881 Accession# R0
Costus spicatus from Tom Wood's prints William Roscoe print
Photo# 17277 Accession# R3028
Photo# 17278 Accession# R3028
Photo# 17279 Accession# R3028
Photo# 17280 Accession# R3028
Photo# 17281 Accession# R3028
Photo# 17282 Accession# R3028
Photo# 17283 Accession# R3028
Photo# 17284 Accession# R3028
Photo# 17285 Accession# R3028
Photo# 17286 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus, upper leaf - does not have line of stirgulose hairs
Photo# 17287 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus, lower leaf, also glabrous
Photo# 17288 Accession# R3028
Photo# 17289 Accession# R3028
Photo# 17290 Accession# R3028
Photo# 17291 Accession# R3028
Photo# 17292 Accession# R3028
CLICK HERE for a detailed botanical description and identification key for this species (opens in new window).
PLANT FAMILY: Costaceae
BOTANICAL NAME: Costus spicatus
FORMAL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus spicatus (Jacq.) Sw.
This is an accepted neo-tropical Costus species first described in 1788. It is described as a plant growing to 1-2.5 meters tall with a truncate ligule 2-10 mm long. It forms a terminal inflorescence comprised of greenish-red non-appendaged bracts (red in the covered parts, green near the apex) and tubular flowers with yellow to pink corolla and yellow labellum. Paul Maas in his 1972 monograph stated, "The name C. spicatus has often been misapplied to specimens belonging to C. scaber, C. laevis, C. pictus and C. spiralis. It is closely related to C. scaber and C. spiralis but can be distinguished by its greenish bracts." (NOTE: there is a plant from Peru that I have determined is a form of Costus spiralis that has green bracts instead of red, so the color of the bracts may not be in and of itself totally conclusive.) It can also be distinguished by its longer calyx (10-16 mm). Maas lists several other synonyms including Costus cylindricus which has also been applied incorrectly to several species including C. spicatus.
Maas compares those three species in a chart, reproduced in a table on a separate page at http://www.gingersrus.com/botanical/CompareThree.htm .
The type is from the island of Martinique, and the species is distributed in the Caribbean islands of Hispanola and the Lesser Antilles. It is not known from mainland Central or South America. GBIF records reflect a number of collections from Mexico (none of which were determined by Paul Maas) which are no doubt errors.
Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica, Latitude 15.57087, Longitude -61.44986, at 40 meters elevation.
Layou River, Saint Joseph Parish, Dominica, Latitude 15.4134, Longitude -61.395, at 70 meters elevation.
Fond Cani, Dominica, Latitude 15.31695, Longitude -61.3469, at 160 meters elevation.
Castle Bruce, Saint David Parish, Dominica, Latitude 15.41865, Longitude -61.27842, at 63 meters elevation.
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