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Datasheet for Costus scaber

Plant Datasheet for Costus scaber

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Costus scaber by Kathleen Kay, Michigan State University  - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 11633 Accession# R0
Costus scaber by Kathleen Kay, Michigan State University


Costus scaber by Kathleen Kay, Michigan State University  - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 11634 Accession# R0
Costus scaber by Kathleen Kay, Michigan State University


Costus scaber by Kathleen Kay, Michigan State University  - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 11635 Accession# R0
Costus scaber by Kathleen Kay, Michigan State University


Costus scaber at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO  - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 11637 Accession# R0
Costus scaber at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO


Costus scaber at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO  - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 11638 Accession# R0
Costus scaber at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO


Costus scaber at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO  - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 11639 Accession# R0
Costus scaber at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO


Costus scaber at Lyon Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii  80.0703 (red bract form from Dave Skinner at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii )  - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 12737 Accession# R0
Costus scaber at Lyon Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii 80.0703 (red bract form from Dave Skinner at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii )


Costus scaber at Lyon Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii  80.0703 (red bract form from Dave Skinner at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii )  - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 12738 Accession# R0
Costus scaber at Lyon Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii 80.0703 (red bract form from Dave Skinner at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii )


Costus scaber at Lyon Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii  80.0703 (red bract form from Dave Skinner at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii )  - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 12739 Accession# R0
Costus scaber at Lyon Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii 80.0703 (red bract form from Dave Skinner at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii )


Costus aff. scaber at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii  #70S316  - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 12740 Accession# R0
Costus aff. scaber at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii #70S316


Costus aff. scaber at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii  #70S316 ligules - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 12741 Accession# R0
Costus aff. scaber at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii #70S316 ligules


Costus scaber along trail to waterfall at Mallqui - at type locality - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17673 Accession# R0
Costus scaber along trail to waterfall at Mallqui - at type locality


Costus scaber along trail to waterfall at Mallqui - this is in the area Ruiz explored between Cuchero and Chinchao - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17674 Accession# R0
Costus scaber along trail to waterfall at Mallqui - this is in the area Ruiz explored between Cuchero and Chinchao


Costus scaber along trail to waterfall at Mallqui - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17675 Accession# R0
Costus scaber along trail to waterfall at Mallqui


Costus scaber along trail to waterfall at Mallqui - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17676 Accession# R0
Costus scaber along trail to waterfall at Mallqui


Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17677 Accession# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi


Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17678 Accession# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi


Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17679 Accession# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi


Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17680 Accession# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi


Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi - ligule - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17681 Accession# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi - ligule


Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi - leaf underside - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17682 Accession# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi - leaf underside


Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi - leaf upper side, with single line of hairs at midrib, characteristic of C. scaber - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17683 Accession# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi - leaf upper side, with single line of hairs at midrib, characteristic of C. scaber


Costus scaber at Parque Nacional Tingo Maria, Catarata Gloriapata trail - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17684 Accession# R0
Costus scaber at Parque Nacional Tingo Maria, Catarata Gloriapata trail


Costus scaber at Parque Nacional Tingo Maria, Catarata Gloriapata trail - ligule - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17685 Accession# R0
Costus scaber at Parque Nacional Tingo Maria, Catarata Gloriapata trail - ligule


Costus scaber at Parque Nacional Tingo Maria, Catarata Gloriapata trail - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17686 Accession# R0
Costus scaber at Parque Nacional Tingo Maria, Catarata Gloriapata trail


Costus scaber at Parque Nacional Tingo Maria, Catarata Gloriapata trail - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17687 Accession# R0
Costus scaber at Parque Nacional Tingo Maria, Catarata Gloriapata trail


Costus scaber near Santa Rosa - this is near Chacahuassi along the Rio Huallaga - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17688 Accession# R0
Costus scaber near Santa Rosa - this is near Chacahuassi along the Rio Huallaga


Costus scaber near Santa Rosa - this is near Chacahuassi along the Rio Huallaga - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17689 Accession# R0
Costus scaber near Santa Rosa - this is near Chacahuassi along the Rio Huallaga


Costus scaber near Santa Rosa - ligule - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17690 Accession# R0
Costus scaber near Santa Rosa - ligule


Costus scaber  at Rio Repente near Cayumba - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17966 Accession# R3384
Costus scaber at Rio Repente near Cayumba


Costus scaber at Rio Repente near Cayumba - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17967 Accession# R3384
Costus scaber at Rio Repente near Cayumba


Costus scaberat Rio Repente near Cayumba - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17968 Accession# R3384
Costus scaberat Rio Repente near Cayumba


Costus scaberat Rio Repente near Cayumba - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17969 Accession# R3384
Costus scaberat Rio Repente near Cayumba


Costus scaber  at Rio Repente near Cayumba - inflorence - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17970 Accession# R3384
Costus scaber at Rio Repente near Cayumba - inflorence


Costus scaber  at Rio Repente near Cayumba - bracts, bracteole, calyx and flower - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17971 Accession# R3384
Costus scaber at Rio Repente near Cayumba - bracts, bracteole, calyx and flower


Costus scaber at Rio Repente near Cayumba - bracteole, calyx, corolla lobes, stamen, labellum - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17972 Accession# R3384
Costus scaber at Rio Repente near Cayumba - bracteole, calyx, corolla lobes, stamen, labellum


CLICK HERE for a detailed botanical description and identification key for this species (opens in new window).
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PLANT FAMILY: Costaceae
BOTANICAL NAME: Costus scaber
FORMAL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus scaber Ruiz & Pav.
STATUS :Accepted
CONTINENT: Neotropical
SYNONYMS:


BOTANICAL NOTES:
This is an accepted neo-tropical Costus species first described in 1798. It is widespread and variable in form resulting in many species names that were put into synonymy with C. scaber by Paul Maas in his 1972 monograph. Costus scaber is described as a plant that grows anywhere from 0.5 meters to 3 meters tall, with variable hairiness and truncate ligules 2-12 mm long. The terminal inflorescence is made up of orange-red to red non-appendaged bracts and tubular flowers orange to yellow. An aid in identification is the minute single row of hairs (requiring a lens for my eyes) along the upper midrib of the leaves. This is not determinative in and of itself because there are other species with the same character, but Costus scaber should always have this line of hairs. Another character, not included in Dr. Maas' description, but consistent in my own observation of this species is that the flower protrudes from the bracts at about a 60 degree angle.

There are several other accepted species that are superficially similar to Costus scaber, and it can be difficult to distinguish some of them. Dr. Maas has attempted to break these down by various characters such as the length of the calyx and bracteole and I have reproduced the information in tabular forms that can be found at:
http://www.gingersrus.com/botanical/CompareFour.htm - comparing C. scaber with C. lasius, C. sprucei, and C. chartaceus.
http://www.gingersrus.com/botanical/CompareThree.htm - comparing C. scaber against the 2 most frequently confused species - Costus spicatus and Costus spiralis. One form of Costus scaber (the "Indian Head" form -PID 7574) is very common in US horticulture but is often incorrectly tagged as Costus spicatus.
Another species that is popular in cultivation and could be easily confused with Costus scaber is Costus woodsonii. Information about its description and distinguishing characteristics can be found at PID3695.

The type for this species from Peru has become confused as Dr. Maas found that the specimen had appendaged bracts but the description by Ruis & Pavon was of non-appendaged bracts. The distribution is from Mexico to Brazil and all points in between including the island Hispanola. A query of GBIF data found 975 collection records for this species with collections from as far north as Mexico, south to Bolivia and east to Brazil and Surinam. It differs somewhat in appearance in different locations, but is usually recognizable so long as you distinguish from other similar species like C. spiralis, C. spicatus, C. woodsonii, C. pulverulentus and a few others. After seeing this species in Brazil, Mato Grosso, at Cristalino, I prepared a thumbnail sheet showing the Cristalino plant and comparing against a few other examples of Costus scaber at http://www.gingersrus.com/images/P7466-CristalinoI have set up separate web pages to divide up some of the many photos I have of this species as follows:
Central American forms atPID 7452
South American forms atPID 7466
The registered cultivar 'Twister' atPID 7535
Cultivated "Indian Head" form atPID 7574
A thin stemmed form seen in Costa Rica, Osa Peninsula atPID 7424

Additional information about these forms can be found on those separate web pages.

ACCESSION NOTES:
R3384 collected near the type locality in Peru

OBSERVATION NOTES:

CATIE, Turrialba, Cartago, Costa Rica, Latitude 9.896343, Longitude -83.657587, at meters elevation.

Jardin Botanico del Pacifico, Bahía Solano, Choco, Colombia, Latitude 6.27, Longitude -77.37, at 100 meters elevation.

Drake area, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Latitude 8.65, Longitude -83.667, at 150 meters elevation.

Cristalino, State of Mato Grosso, Brazil, Latitude -9.643024444, Longitude -55.93729472, at meters elevation.

Iwokrama, Guyana, Latitude 4.664, Longitude -58.685, at 80 meters elevation.

Rio Napo, Maynas Province, Peru, Latitude -3.4, Longitude -73.19, at 95 meters elevation.

Maynas Province, Peru, Latitude -3.54, Longitude -73.1, at 90 meters elevation.

1.4 km E of Shapaja, San Martin, Peru, Latitude -6.585, Longitude -76.25, at 260 meters elevation.

Finca Ramiro, Rioja Province, Peru, Latitude -6.0697, Longitude -77.147, at 820 meters elevation.

Rara Avis, Heredia Province, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica, Latitude 10.294, Longitude -84.046, at 700 meters elevation.

PN Podocarpus, Zamora, Ecuador, Latitude -4.1, Longitude -78.96, at 1000 meters elevation.

Cerro Nara, Londres, Santa María, Costa Rica, Latitude 9.487, Longitude -84.014, at 800 meters elevation.

Reserva Forestal Golfo Dulce, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica, Latitude 8.73539, Longitude -83.407939, at 50 meters elevation.

Trail between Drake and Rancho Quemado, Osa, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica, Latitude 8.69287, Longitude -83.6067, at 230 meters elevation.

Trail near Cerro Bruja and Rancho Quemado, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Latitude 8.67065, Longitude -83.5827, at 500 meters elevation.

Fila Trail, Esquinas Lodge, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica, Latitude 8.692355, Longitude -83.211488, at 330 meters elevation.

Rio Barrigones, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Latitude 8.58269, Longitude -83.4547, at 85 meters elevation.

Along road to Simon Bolivar, Leoncio Prado Province, Peru, Latitude -9.24, Longitude -75.814, at 1500 meters elevation.

Chinchao, Huanuco, Peru, Latitude -9.660312, Longitude -76.063894, at 1980 meters elevation.

Cueva Pumahuassi Road, Leoncio Prado Province, Peru, Latitude -9.19382, Longitude -75.956, at 700 meters elevation.

Mallqui, Huanuco, Peru, Latitude -9.609, Longitude -76.031, at 1300 meters elevation.

PN Tingo Maria, Gloriapatra Trail, Las Palmas, Peru, Latitude -9.41966, Longitude -75.971, at 725 meters elevation.

Santa Rosa, Leoncio Prado Province, Peru, Latitude -9.3779, Longitude -75.954, at 850 meters elevation.

Rio Repente, Leoncio Prado Province, Peru, Latitude -9.4955, Longitude -75.9635, at 770 meters elevation.

Papilotte, Dominica, Latitude 15.327234, Longitude -61.338143, at meters elevation.

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Costus scaber flower Costus scaber is another of the widespread and variable species of Costus. It is found in nearly all parts of Central America and tropical South America. I have seen it in every country I have explored for Costus: Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana and Brazil. The form being sold here is the one that is common in cultivation but I do have other forms with slightly different colors of bracts and sizes of flowers. If you see a photo on my website of another form, feel free to email me and if I have it available I can substitute it.

This Costus scaber has proven to be hardy here in USDA zone 8B and is reported hardy up to zone 8A. It grows to about 5-6 ft. tall in a season, and in frost free areas it can grow to as much as 8 ft. tall. It has beautiful tropical-looking medium green leaves with the typical spiraling archictecture that makes all Costus attractive as foliage plants, even without the flowers.

There are two basic types of Costus - one type with tightly imbricate bracts forming cones, like this one, and others with more open bracts or with leafy appendages to the bracts. Some have flowers with broader labellums and some like this one which are more tubular in shape. The bright red "pokers" stand out nicely against the green foliage. (NOTE: This plant is sometimes sold as Costus spicatus, but the correct identity is Costus scaber. Costus spicatus is a different, superficially similar species.)

Costus scaber is a vigorous grower, and it will not take long for it to spread to a nice large clump. You can easily speed up that process by rooting cuttings of the stems and planting the new plants.


Costus scaber

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