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Datasheet for Costus vargasii

Plant Datasheet for Costus vargasii

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Costus vargasii by Ray Lampert at Nat'l Botanic Garden of Belgium  - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 12052 Accession# R0
Costus vargasii by Ray Lampert at Nat'l Botanic Garden of Belgium


Costus vargasii by Ray Lampert at Nat'l Botanic Garden of Belgium  - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 12053 Accession# R0
Costus vargasii by Ray Lampert at Nat'l Botanic Garden of Belgium


Costus vargasii - MLC plant and inflo - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17383 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - MLC plant and inflo


Costus vargasii - MLC in fruit - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17384 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - MLC in fruit


Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla plant with inflo - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17385 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla plant with inflo


Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla plant - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17386 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla plant


Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla plant - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17387 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla plant


Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla inflo - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17388 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla inflo


Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla  inflo top - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17389 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla inflo top


Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla  inflo - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17390 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla inflo


Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla stem and ligule - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17391 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla stem and ligule


Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla leaves - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17392 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla leaves


Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla ligule - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17393 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla ligule


Costus vargasii - Peru, Manu, Pantiacolla bract and flower composite - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17394 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - Peru, Manu, Pantiacolla bract and flower composite


Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla plant - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17395 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla plant


Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla plant - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 17396 Accession# R3264
Costus vargasii - Pantiacolla plant


CLICK HERE for a detailed botanical description and identification key for this species (opens in new window).

PLANT FAMILY: Costaceae
BOTANICAL NAME: Costus vargasii
FORMAL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus vargasii Maas & H.Maas
STATUS :Accepted
CONTINENT: Neotropical
SYNONYMS:


BOTANICAL NOTES:
This is an accepted neo-tropical Costus species described in 1990 by Paul and Hiltje Maas. It is described as a plant growing to 1.5 meters tall and completely glabrous, distinguishing it from some similar species found in the same area, such as C. beckii. Maas says it is characterized by a separate basal inflorescence with red non-appendaged bracts and yellow tubular flowers. The type is from Peru, Dept Cuzco, collected along the road from Pillcopata to Salvacion, 2 km before Atalaya. From his description of the leaves, it is clear that the species has been described from this plant, as other plants of the same species are found across the river in primary forest and are quite different looking.

In Peru I found the original collection site of the Costus vargasii isotype that appears to be the same as the common form in cultivation, sometimes under the name Costus 'Raspberry Yogurt'. What surprised me is that this collection was the ONLY plant I could find that had the same dark green leaves with the purple undersides that we are accustomed to seeing in C. vargasii. All the other C. vargasii plants I found had lighter green leaves and light green undersides, but were otherwise the same as the cultivated plant. I question whether the cultivated plant (which also is the basis for Maas' description) is an anomaly, and that the normal Costus vargasii looks quite different. I have written a report explaining all this at A HREF="http://www.gingersrus.com/images/P3758-PDF/Costus_vargasii_Peru.pdf

Here is a thumbnail sheet of photos showing the Costus vargasii plant found at Atalaya, Peru, with comparisons to the plant in cultivation.http://www.gingersrus.com/images/R3257/

And here is another thumbnail sheet showing the Costus vargasii plant I found across the river in primary habitat, that has a very different general appearance from the cultivated plant, but all the characters do fit the botanical description of this species.http://www.gingersrus.com/images/R3264/

The distribution of this species is uncertain as there are only 3 collection records in GBIF. I have been told that the 'Raspberry Yogurt' collection by Mark Collins and Alan Carle was made along the Quincemil to Puerto Maldonado road. The species has not been assessed for the IUCN Red List.

See datasheet forPID 7404 for further discussion and photos of the 'Raspberry Yogurt' form that is common in cultivation for this species.
Specimen at NYBG Herbarium - http://www.nybg.org/bsci/hcol/vasc/Costaceae.html

Image: Available at http://image.nybg.org/herbim/0611/Name: Costaceae Costus vargasii Maas & H. Maas (Isotype) Image: Available Location: Peru. Cuzco. Paucartambo. Road from Pillcopata to Salvacion, 2 km before Atalaya. Alt. 700 - 800 m. Collector: P. J. M. Maas 6156with H. Maas, C. Roersch & L. Y. Th. Westra 24 Oct 1984 Description: Herb, 1.5 m tall. Sheaths sometimes slightly glaucous, leaves very dark, dull green above, with yellowish-green costa, purplish below; inflorescence basal; sheaths reddish at the base, green towards the apex, somewhat inflated in ripe stage, bracts red, with pale callus; corolla, labelum, and stamen yellow. Flowers in spirit. Fertile. Habitat: Forest margin along road. Publication: Verified: P. J. M. & H. Maas. 1989. Other: NY Specimen ID: 39320

ACCESSION NOTES:
I have several accessions of the 'Raspberry Yogurt' form of this species listed under PID#7404. This page has photos of a collection from native forests across the river from Atalaya, accession #R3264.

OBSERVATION NOTES:

Along road, 500 meters from Atalaya, Rio Madre de Dios, Peru, Latitude -12.891525, Longitude -71.35500611, at 530 meters elevation.

Pantiacolla, Manú Province, Peru, Latitude -12.6431, Longitude -71.236, at 418 meters elevation.


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