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Datasheet for Costus erythrophyllus

Plant Datasheet for Costus erythrophyllus


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Photo# 10720 Specimen# R0
Costus erythrophyllus at Atlanta Botanic Gardens plicate leaves


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Photo# 10721 Specimen# R0
Costus erythrophyllus at Atlanta Botanic Gardens smooth leaves


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Photo# 10722 Specimen# R0
Costus erythrophyllus at Leu Gardens, Orlando, FL ligules


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Photo# 10723 Specimen# R0
Costus erythrophyllus at Moody Gardens, Galveston, TX


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Photo# 10724 Specimen# R0
Costus erythrophyllus at Moody Gardens, Galveston, TX


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Photo# 12666 Specimen# R0
Costus erythrophyllus at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai, Hawaii #990326


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Photo# 10725 Specimen# R0
Costus erythrophyllus at Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, FL


CLICK HERE for a detailed botanical description and identification key for this species (opens in new window).
CLICK HERE to see a description of accession #R2847 . (opens in new window).

PLANT FAMILY: Costaceae
BOTANICAL NAME: Costus erythrophyllus
FORMAL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus erythrophyllus Loes.
STATUS :Accepted
CONTINENT: Neotropical
SYNONYMS:


BOTANICAL NOTES:
This is an accepted neo-tropical Costus species first described in 1929. In his 1972 monograph Paul Maas put this species into synonymy with Costus claviger. In 1977 he reconsidered and split this species back out from C. claviger and also described the new species C. varzearum and a "C. aff. claviger" to cover the terminal flowering types from western South America. Costus erythrophyllus is distinguished from the others as having very deeply two-lobed ligules (10-38 mm long), plicate leaves and longer bract appendages than C. claviger or C. varzearum, among other less distinguishable differences. He says the leaves are often purplish underneath, but does not distinguish the species by that character. He gives its distribution as Amazonian Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Peru.

This species appears to be somewhat variable in nature as there are several forms that fit the botanical description of this species. The most common form in cultivation is a short plant with waxy leaves, dark green on top and deep puple underneath. I saw this form but not in flower in habitat near Iquitos, Peru. Please see the separate web pages for more information on the other forms.
'Silver Leaf' atPID7351
'Grey Ghost' atPID7300
Santa Maria form atPID7584

The HOLOTYPE was collected in 1924 by G. Tessmann from the mouth of the Rio Apaga, in the Maranon River region of Loreto, Peru. This specimen was destroyed in 1943 Berlin so Paul Maas selected a NEOTYPE: cultivated from seeds collected from Rio Moa between Igarape Ipiranga and Aquidaba, Acre, Brazil.

Specimen at NTBG #980543 appears to be the same as the form most commonly found in cultivation. Seed collected by 'Sparrow' and distributed to NTBG via David Orr from Waimea Arboretum. Collected from Aguarico River, Amazonia Ecuador. Elev. 230 m.a.s.l. Understory 'cane' growing in riparian regenerating forest. Beautiful flowers.

ACCESSION NOTES:
I have several accessions of the common cultivated form. R1931 (no longer alive), R2847, R2933 and R2996 all from commercial sources. R3026 came from Atlanta Botanical Garden where it was tagged as Costus atropurpurea (not a valid species name) but looks identical. This species was tested for winter hardiness by Tom Wood near Gainesville, Florida - zone 8b-9, did not survive. R3026 has been vouchered at the UC Berkeley, Jepsen Herbarium, UC2045819.

OBSERVATION NOTES:

Rio Pato, Santa María, Boyacá, Colombia, Latitude 4.88057, Longitude -73.27172, at 976 meters elevation.

Quebrada Cristalino, Santa María, Boyacá, Colombia, Latitude 4.84862, Longitude -73.27213, at 900 meters elevation.

Reserva Natural north of town, Santa María, Boyacá, Colombia, Latitude 4.8838, Longitude -73.2535, at 1200 meters elevation.

Santa Teresa, south of Rio Mazán, Maynas Province, Peru, Latitude -3.53, Longitude -73.177, at 120 meters elevation.

San Rafael Indian village, Maynas Province, Peru, Latitude -3.556, Longitude -73.11, at 90 meters elevation.

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Costus erythrophyllus-flower Costus erythrophyllus comes from the Amazon basin of Ecuador and parts of Peru, Columbia and Brazil. There are several somewhat different looking forms, but this is the most common one in US horticulture. This is another Costus that is sometimes incorrectly listed as Costus sanguineus, which is not a valid name in Costus. The leaves are waxy and shiny, with very dark green uppersides and deep burgundy undersides. The flowers have bright red stripes and are quite showy as they are produced both on basal stems and terminally at the end of the leafy stems.

The plant grows to a height of about 3 feet making it suitable for container growing in a greenhouse or outside in zones 10 and higher. I have seen some sources indicating it is zone 9 hardy, but I would not recommend it to be grown outdoors in winter except in frost free areas. It should be grown in part shade, moist, well-drained organic soil.


Costus erythrophyllus

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