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Datasheet for Costus scaber

Plant Datasheet for Costus scaber


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Photo# 11633 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber by Kathleen Kay, Michigan State University


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Photo# 11634 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber by Kathleen Kay, Michigan State University


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Photo# 11635 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber by Kathleen Kay, Michigan State University


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Photo# 12737 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber at Lyon Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii 80.0703 (red bract form from Dave Skinner at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii )


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Photo# 12738 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber at Lyon Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii 80.0703 (red bract form from Dave Skinner at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii )


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Photo# 12739 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber at Lyon Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii 80.0703 (red bract form from Dave Skinner at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii )


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Photo# 11637 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO


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Photo# 11638 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO


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Photo# 11639 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO


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Photo# 12740 Specimen# R0
Costus aff. scaber at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii #70S316


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Photo# 12741 Specimen# R0
Costus aff. scaber at Waimea Audubon Center, Oahu, Hawaii #70S316 ligules


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Photo# 17673 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber along trail to waterfall at Mallqui - at type locality


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Photo# 17674 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber along trail to waterfall at Mallqui - this is in the area Ruiz explored between Cuchero and Chinchao


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Photo# 17675 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber along trail to waterfall at Mallqui


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Photo# 17676 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber along trail to waterfall at Mallqui


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Photo# 17677 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi


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Photo# 17678 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi


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Photo# 17679 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi


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Photo# 17680 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi


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Photo# 17681 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi - ligule


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Photo# 17682 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi - leaf underside


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Photo# 17683 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber along road to Cueva Pumahuassi - leaf upper side, with single line of hairs at midrib, characteristic of C. scaber


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Photo# 17684 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber at Parque Nacional Tingo Maria, Catarata Gloriapata trail


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Photo# 17685 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber at Parque Nacional Tingo Maria, Catarata Gloriapata trail - ligule


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Photo# 17686 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber at Parque Nacional Tingo Maria, Catarata Gloriapata trail


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Photo# 17687 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber at Parque Nacional Tingo Maria, Catarata Gloriapata trail


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Photo# 17688 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber near Santa Rosa - this is near Chacahuassi along the Rio Huallaga


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Photo# 17689 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber near Santa Rosa - this is near Chacahuassi along the Rio Huallaga


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Photo# 17690 Specimen# R0
Costus scaber near Santa Rosa - ligule


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Photo# 17966 Specimen# R3384
Costus scaber
From Peru, Huanuco


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Photo# 17967 Specimen# R3384
Costus scaber
From Peru, Huanuco


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Photo# 17968 Specimen# R3384
Costus scaber
From Peru, Huanuco


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Photo# 17969 Specimen# R3384
Costus scaber
From Peru, Huanuco


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Photo# 17970 Specimen# R3384
Costus scaber
From Peru, Huanuco


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Photo# 17971 Specimen# R3384
Costus scaber
From Peru, Huanuco


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Photo# 17972 Specimen# R3384
Costus scaber
From Peru, Huanuco


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:
Costus anachiri Jacq. (1809), Costus quintus Roem. & Schult. (1817), Costus spicatus Sw. ß anthocono purpurascente... Horan. (1862), Costus cylindricus Jacq. var. ß anachiri ( Jacq.) Petersen in Mart. (1890), Costus ciliatus Miq. (1844), Costus scaberulus Rich. ex L.F.Gagnep. (1902), Costus nutans K.Schum. in Engl. (1904), Costus puchucupango J.F.Macbr. (1931), Costus tatei Rusby (1934), Costus cylindricus auct. non Jacq.: Roscoe (1828), Costus spicatus auct. non Jacq.: Standl. (1928), Costus igneus auct. non N.E.Br.: K.Goebel (1931),

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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