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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 3431

Costus erythrophyllus


OLD NAME: Costus erythrophyllus

NEW NAME: Costus erythrophyllus

NAME CHANGE NOTES: Possibly will split off the 'El Whiskey' form as a separate species to be named Costus whiskeycola.

FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus erythrophyllus Loes.

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:


BOTANICAL NOTES:
Costus erythrophyllus is an accepted neo-tropical Costus species first described by Loesener in 1929 from a collection by Guntar Tessmann in 1924 near the mouth of the Rio Apaga on the Rio Marańon (which is a few km downstream from the famous Pongo de Manseriche) in Peru. Tessmann's specimen was lost during WWII in Berlin, so in his 1977 monograph, Paul Maas chose as a neotype a 1974 cultivated plant (Utrecht Bot. Gdn. 72-359) grown from seeds collected by Prance et al. 12064a in Brazil, Acre, Rio Moa between Igarapé Ipiranga and Aquidaba. Whether or not the neotype is indeed the same species as the Tessmann collection is difficult to determine, and is pending a visit to the Peruvian type locality to see the living plants there that match the photos of the Tessman collection.

In his 1972 monograph Paul Maas had 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.

Based on Maas' 1977 description, Costus erythrophyllus was 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 wrote that 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.

I have found this species to be quite variable in nature as there are several forms that fit best 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. This form is the so-called "El Whiskey" plant that is now proposed as a new species to be called Costus whiskeycola

Some forms have very strongly plicate leaves, some do not. Some have purple undersides to the leaves and some are all green. Here are some of the different forms I have seen:

  • The cultivated 'Silver Leaf' form, thought to be a clone of the Maas neotype at PID7351
  • Costus 'Grey Ghost' at PID7300
  • The Santa Maria form at PID7584

    All three of these forms have been sampled and DNA extracted at Cornell University and found to be in the same lineage. The 'Silver Leaf' and 'Grey Ghost' forms were in the same clade, with the Santa Maria form in a separate weakly supported clade in that same lineage, and the proposed Costus whiskeycola in a clade close to the Santa Maria form.

    HORTICULTURAL NOTES:
    Based on information at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) this species is in ex situ cultivation at 28 botanical gardens world wide. Some of these reported accessions may be the 'El Whiskey' plant which is proposed as a new species Costus whiskeycola. 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. R2000- R2948- R2987-


    Copyright © 1999-2023 - 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 dave@gingersrus.com

  • Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 3431
    Click on a thumbnail to load full sized image.
    Use your "back" button to come back to this page.

    Costus erythrophyllus, photo from Maas, 72-359 Sandw 1974 Type U0999266.jpg - Click to see full sized image
    Photo# 202 Accession# R0
    Costus erythrophyllus, photo from Maas, 72-359 Sandw 1974 Type U0999266.jpg


    Costus erythrophyllus, photo from Maas, 72-359 Sandw 1974 Type U0999267.jpg - Click to see full sized image
    Photo# 203 Accession# R0
    Costus erythrophyllus, photo from Maas, 72-359 Sandw 1974 Type U0999267.jpg


    Costus erythrophyllus, photo from Maas, 72-359 Sandw 1974 Type U0999270.jpg - Click to see full sized image
    Photo# 204 Accession# R0
    Costus erythrophyllus, photo from Maas, 72-359 Sandw 1974 Type U0999270.jpg


    Costus erythrophyllus BB 2017 DSC_0632.jpg, photo from - Click to see full sized image
    Photo# 205 Accession# R0
    Costus erythrophyllus BB 2017 DSC_0632.jpg, photo from


    Costus erythrophyllus, photo from Maas,  Jana DSC08320.jpg - Click to see full sized image
    Photo# 206 Accession# R0
    Costus erythrophyllus, photo from Maas, Jana DSC08320.jpg


    Costus erythrophyllus type specimen - Click to see full sized image
    Photo# 483 Accession# R0
    Costus erythrophyllus type specimen


    Costus erythrophyllus type specimen - Click to see full sized image
    Photo# 484 Accession# R0
    Costus erythrophyllus type specimen