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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 3695

Costus woodsonii


OLD NAME: Costus woodsonii

NEW NAME: Costus woodsonii

NAME CHANGE NOTES:

FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus woodsonii Maas

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:
- Costus spiralis auct. non (Jacq.) Roscoe: Woodson (1942)

BOTANICAL NOTES:
Costus woodsonii is an accepted species of neotropical Costus described by Paul Maas in 1972 and named after Robert Woodson of the Missouri Botanical Garden. The type was collected in Panama, Bocas del Toro on the Old Bank Island near the Chirquí Lagoon. It is characterized by its bright red non-appendaged bracts and tubular red flowers, abaxialy oriented and with a very small opening to access the stamen. Often it can be recognized and distinguished from similar looking species by the rounded shape and shinyness of the leaves. In all specimens I have seen, this species lacks the single line of hairs along the upper side midrib of the leaves, as is found (with the help of a lens) on the leaves of Costus scaber. Costus woodsonii is found only along the Caribbean coast of Central America and the Pacific coast of Colombia in low areas and can grow right up to the edge of the beach. It flowers year round.

In 2014 I completed an IUCN Red List assessment for this species and found it to be of "Least Concern". The assessment can be found at http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/56349436.

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. My collection R3374 from Cahuita in Costa Rica was sampled for DNA and found to be in the same clade in the phylogeny tree with the John Kress collection (same as my R3028) of Costus spicatus from Dominica. It would be helpful to sequence the commonly cultivated form of C. woodsonii for confirmation of its evolutionary lineage and relationship to C. spicatus.

HORTICULTURAL NOTES:
This is by far the most widely cultivated species of Costus. Based on information at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) this species is in ex situ cultivation at 37 botanical gardens world wide. I have found this species to be relatively easy to grow in my garden and greenhouses at Le Jardín Ombrage. It is quite adaptable to sandy soils and areas with fairly high salt content as it grows right up to the edge of the beach in its native habitat.

This species is found in cultivation in two different forms, most popular is a dwarf form that flowers at about 1 meter tall but is also found in a taller form (more common in nature) that grows to 2-3 meters tall.

ACCESSIONS:Click links (if any) to see details of individual collections. R1707- R2692- R2944- R2995- R3374-


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Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 3695
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Costus woodsonii at Burgers Bush, photo by Paul Maas - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 341 Accession# R0
Costus woodsonii at Burgers Bush, photo by Paul Maas


Costus woodsonii, from Maas, photo by Betancur, JB IMG_8850 - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 342 Accession# R0
Costus woodsonii, from Maas, photo by Betancur, JB IMG_8850


Costus woodsonii type specimen - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 551 Accession# R0
Costus woodsonii type specimen