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 spicatus

Plant Datasheet for Costus spicatus

Click on a thumbnail to load full sized image.
Use your "back" button to come back to this page.

Costus spicatus from Tom Wood's prints William Roscoe print - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 11881 Accession# R0
Costus spicatus from Tom Wood's prints William Roscoe print


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17277 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17278 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17279 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17280 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17281 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17282 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17283 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17284 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17285 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


Costus spicatus, upper leaf - does not have line of stirgulose hairs - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17286 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus, upper leaf - does not have line of stirgulose hairs


Costus spicatus, lower leaf, also glabrous - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17287 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus, lower leaf, also glabrous


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17288 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17289 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17290 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17291 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


Costus spicatus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17292 Accession# R3028
Costus spicatus


CLICK HERE for a detailed botanical description and identification key for this species (opens in new window).
BUY THIS PLANT from Gingers R Us (opens in new window).

PLANT FAMILY: Costaceae
BOTANICAL NAME: Costus spicatus
FORMAL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus spicatus (Jacq.) Sw.
STATUS :Accepted
CONTINENT: Neotropical
SYNONYMS:


BOTANICAL NOTES:
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.

ACCESSION NOTES:
R3028 is Smithsonian USBRG#2002-127 which was collected by John Kress in Hispaniola and tagged as Costus cylindricus. I have grown this plant out and studied it carefully and it fits Maas' description of C. spicatus. This collection has been vouchered at the UC Berkeley, Jepsen Herbarium, UC2045801.

OBSERVATION NOTES:

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.

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Costus cylindricus (true spicatus) Do a Google search for photos of Costus spicatus and you will find lots of web pages with photos, but they are all photos of Costus scaber. The true Costus spicatus is very similar, but the bracts are more greenish and there are subtle differences in the flower parts, such as the length of the calyx and bracteole. Also, the true Costus spicatus has a very limited range, native only to the Carribean islands of Hispanola.

A few years ago I acquired a plant tagged as Costus cylindricus, that was collected in Hispanola. Paul Maas, who wrote the monograph on Costus in the 1970's, listed the species name "Costus cylindricus" as an obsolete synonym for Costus spicatus. The plant finally bloomed in my greenhouse and I am now convinced that this is the true species Costus spicatus.

The flowers of this plant are larger in proportion to the bracts and the labellum is a soft yellow color. Otherwise the plant is pretty non-descript, with typical Costus green stems and leaves. I have not yet tested this plant for hardiness and frankly have no idea whether it will turn out to be hardy like its namesake Costus scaber-spicatus, but the plant is a fairly vigorous grower, and a bit taller (6-7 feet) than Costus scaber. It seems to prefer a fairly sunny location in my greenhouse but has not been tested outdoors yet.


Costus cylindricus (true spicatus)

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