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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 3435

Costus lima


OLD NAME: Costus lima

NEW NAME: Costus lima

NAME CHANGE NOTES:

FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus lima K.Schum.

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

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GOOGLE PHOTO ALBUM

SYNONYMS:
- Costus lima K.Schum. var. wedelianus Woodson (1939) - Costus lima K.Schum. var. scabrimarginatus Maas (1972)

BOTANICAL NOTES:
Costus lima is an accepted species of neotropical Costus described by Karl Schumann in 1904 from a collection in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, The holotype was lost in Berlin so a neotype was selected by Paul Maas from Limón province about 30 km west of the town of Limón. In 1972 Maas described a separate variety of Costus lima, var. scabrimarginatus (with scabrid hairs only at the margins of the leaves), but he has proposed to unite the two varieties since he found there are many intermediates in the indumenta that distinguished them. I had never been able to make the distinction in the plants I found in the field.

Costus lima is described as a tall plant (up to 4-6 meters!) with truncate ligules 5-15 mm long, terminal flowering with dark red bracts and dark red bract appendages (described as being horizontal or ascending, but in living plants are clearly pendent), and with small tubular flowers, pink to yellow corolla and pink flowers. One other character I have noticed as being consistent in all plants I have seen from Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador, is the presence of a purplish colored margin on the ligules, making this possible to identify when not in flower so long as other species can be eliminated. Most plants I have seen also have a look of being brushed with green and yellow on the bract appendages or having a yellowish line down the center. One plant I saw growing at higher elevations near Caluma, Bolivar, Ecuador had a beautiful flower with a labellum margin that flared outward and seemed to be intermediate between a tubular flower and open labellum type.

Costus lima grows over a wide area on both sides of Costa Rica and Panama, and in western parts of Colombia and Ecuador. It flowers year round even in areas with a distinct dry season. This species is usually found at low altitudes along rivers and in other wet places. I have seen the C. lima plants in Ecuador, Esmeraldas and Colombia, Chocó and I do not see any material differences between those plants and the ones I have seen in Costa Rica and Panama.

In 2014 I completed an IUCN Red List assessment for this species and it is now classified as Least Concern. My assessment rationale can be found at http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/full/56346976/0.

A preliminary phylogeny was completed by Eugenio Valderrama and his associates in the Chelsea Specht Lab at Cornell University and was published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science in September 2022. Costus lima has been sampled for DNA over its range in Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador and it was found to be in several closely related clades in a lineage close to that of Costus ricus. The whole genome of my collection from Costa Rica (R3362) was sequenced in the Chelsea Specht Lab.

HORTICULTURAL NOTES:
Based on information at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) this species is in ex situ cultivation at 8 botanical gardens world wide. I have found this species to be somewhat difficult to grow in my garden and greenhouses at Le Jardín Ombrage where I must grow it in containers. In nature it seems to prefer very wet habitats and that may be the reason I have not been able to get it to flower here.

ACCESSIONS:Click links (if any) to see details of individual collections. R3013- R3014- R3064- R3233- R3303- R3345- R3362-


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Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 3435
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Costus lima, photo from Skinner at Rio Barrigones, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 253 Accession# R0
Costus lima, photo from Skinner at Rio Barrigones, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica


Costus lima type specimen - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 503 Accession# R0
Costus lima type specimen


Costus lima, photo from Skinner R3303, from Colombia, BahiaSolano - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 251 Accession# R3303
Costus lima, photo from Skinner R3303, from Colombia, BahiaSolano


Costus lima, Skinner R3345, large flower form from Caluma, Ecuador - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 252 Accession# R3345
Costus lima, Skinner R3345, large flower form from Caluma, Ecuador