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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 3353

Costus pulverulentus


OLD NAME: Costus pulverulentus

NEW NAME: Costus pulverulentus

NAME CHANGE NOTES:

FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus pulverulentus C. Presl

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 ruber C.Wright ex Griseb. (1866) - Costus laxus Petersen in Mart. (1890) - Costus sanguineus Donn.Sm. (1901) - Costus formosus C.V.Morton (1937)

BOTANICAL NOTES:
Costus pulverulentus is an accepted species of neotropical Costus, first described in the Reliquiae Haenkeanae, 1827. The type of this species was collected in 1790 by the Czech botanist Thaddeus Haenke during his voyage from Panama to Acapulco, Mexico. All plants collected during this part of the voyage were tagged as being collected in "Mexico" which then included the entiire area of Central America. During this voyage Haenke stopped at Realejo in present-day Nicaragua and made an expedition collecting plants in the region of Volcán Viejo and I believe that his collection was actually made there in Nicaragua since the next stop on the voyage was near Acapulco where this species is not found.Costus pulverulentus is widespread in the neotropics and quite variable in form, thus there are many different names that have been placed in synonymy with C. pulverulentus by Paul Maas in his monograph. The vegetative characters - ligule, leaves, indument, etc -are variable across its range so it can be best recognized by the more or less fusiform shape of the inflorescence with the apex tending to be pointed, fibrous margins to the bracts, and a stamen that far exceeds the labellum, fully exposing the thecae. The bract and flower colors are red to red-orange, corolla reddish and labellum yellow forming a tubular flower.

In the Central American and western South American plants from Costa Rica to Colombia, the corolla lobes characteristically curl outwards from the flower.

The plants found in Mexico and other parts of Mesoamerica are are quite different looking and sometimes difficult to distinguish from Costus scaber because the stamen only slightly protrudes from the labellum (not exposing the thecae) and the corolla lobes are tight against the labellum instead of curling outwards.

Generally the plants grow to about 2 or 2.5 meters tall, but there is a shorter form with whitish to pink bracts and pink or red labellum from parts of Panama and Colombia. (See 'Pink Lips' at PID 7382 and 'Purple Passion' at PID 7519)

There are no formally described varieties of C. pulverulentus other than the cultivar names such as 'Pink Lips' and 'Purple Passion'. Maas noted the variability of the vegetative characters such as indument and leaf shape, but said the variation is continuous with many transitional forms, so he did not describe separate varieties based on this.I have set up separate pages for photos of the various forms or they can be seen at the Google photo page link above:

  1. The more typical tall, Central American plants, with red bracts and red flowers, fully exposed thecae, corolla lobes curled outwards to o PID 7848.
  2. The Ecuadorian plants with shorter stamen and corolla lobes enclosing the labellum to PID 7588
  3. The Panamanian and Colombian short forms with pink, green or whitish colored bracts to PID 7589
  4. Named cultivar 'Pink Lips' to PID 7382
  5. Named cultivar 'Purple Passion' to PID 7519

DNA has been extracted from several samples of the typical flower form with exposed thecae from Costa Rica and Panama, and was tightly grouped in a well-supported clade. Two samples from Mesoamerica were in separate clades. The sample (R3454) from Mexico was in a separate lineage from the other Mesoamerican sample (R3506 from Honduras) and I find it dificult to really interpret these results.

HORTICULTURAL NOTES:
Based on information at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) this species is in ex situ cultivation at 43 botanical gardens world wide. I have found this species to be relatively easy to grow in my garden and greenhouses at Le Jardín Ombrage.

Note that the short form in cultivation in Hawaii similar to the cultivar Costus 'Pink Lips' is easilly pollenated and seeds have spread this plant invasively there.

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


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Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 3353
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Costus pulverulentus, Central American form, photo from Panama Veraguas - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 291 Accession# R0
Costus pulverulentus, Central American form, photo from Panama Veraguas


Costus pulverulentus type specimen - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 519 Accession# R0
Costus pulverulentus type specimen


Costus pulverulentus type specimen - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 520 Accession# R0
Costus pulverulentus type specimen


Costus pulverulentus type specimen - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 521 Accession# R0
Costus pulverulentus type specimen


Costus pulverulentus short form, white or pink bracts, photo from Skinner R3231, from Colombia, Quindio Botanical Garden - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 441 Accession# R3231
Costus pulverulentus short form, white or pink bracts, photo from Skinner R3231, from Colombia, Quindio Botanical Garden


Costus pulverulentus, Meso-american form, photo from Skinner R3506, Atlantica, Honduras - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 442 Accession# R3506
Costus pulverulentus, Meso-american form, photo from Skinner R3506, Atlantica, Honduras


Costus pulverulentus, Meso-american form, photo from Skinner R3506, Atlantica, Honduras - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 443 Accession# R3506
Costus pulverulentus, Meso-american form, photo from Skinner R3506, Atlantica, Honduras