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Datasheet for Costus comosus

Plant Datasheet for Costus comosus

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Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15795 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15796 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15797 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15798 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15799 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15800 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15801 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15802 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15803 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15804 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15805 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15806 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15807 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 15808 Accession# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


CLICK HERE for a detailed botanical description and identification key for this species (opens in new window).
CLICK HERE to see a description of accession #R2830 . (opens in new window).

PLANT FAMILY: Costaceae
BOTANICAL NAME: Costus comosus
FORMAL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus comosus (Jacq.) Roscoe
STATUS :Accepted
CONTINENT: Neotropical
SYNONYMS:


BOTANICAL NOTES:
This is an accepted neo-tropical Costus species. It is characterized by its appendaged bracts and yellow tubular flowers. The ligules are truncate and short (1-6 mm long) with leaf petioles 2-10 mm long. The bracts and their appendages are either red, or reddish green (some forms nearly completely green). Maas describes the appendages as being either "horizontally spreading or ascending in the living plants, usually reflexed when dry …", but in all the forms I have seen, the bract appendages are all descending in the living plants, except perhaps at the very apex of the inflorescence. The appendages are acutely triangular in shape. The yellow tubular flowers seem to be quite consistent across the many forms of this species.

The type for this species is the illustration, Plate 202 from Jacquin's Icon. Pl. Rar. which was annotated on the print as Alpinia comosa. The collection this is based upon is from Venezuela, the herbarium specimen was destroyed in World War II. This illustration is consistent with the living plant I found at Santa Maria de Boyacá on the eastern slopes of the Andes in Colombia. Photos of that specimen are shown on this page. Other specimens are on the subsequent pages.

There are two formally described varieties - var. comosus and var. bakeri distinguished only by the hairiness on the upper surface of the leaves. Var. Comosus has densely puberulo-villose, never scabrid upper surfaces, whereas var. bakeri has "glabrous to sparsely strigose" upper leaf surfaces with bracts somewhat scabrid to the touch. In practice I have not found these varietal distinctions to be very important, and as with most Costus species, the hairiness tends to be quite variable within a species. Nevertheless I have attempted to separate the varieties on these pages, placing the Mexican plants I have seen in var. Bakeri and the others in var. Comosus or not ascribing varietal status at all where it is uncertain. Maas indicates generally that var.bakeri is found in northern Central America but var. comosus (including the form that was called C. maritimus) is found in Costa Rica and in Colombia-Venezuela. (Note the the plant mentioned by Maas in his 1977 updated monograph, located in Panama at Santa Fe is, in my opinion, NOT C. comosus but is a form of Costus ricus as evidenced by the bicarinate bracteole. )

ACCESSION NOTES:
R3308 is a form with clear red bracts and bract appendages with the wider triangular bracts, collected in Colombia at Santa Maria de Boyaca. I was unable to determine whether this is var. comosus or var. bakeri. The upper surface of the leaves is completely glabrous on some plants and somewhat puberulous on others. The bract appendages are not at all scabrous to the touch - they are completely smooth and glabrous. The lower side of the leaves is only minutely puberulous. The stems are quite thin (only about 1 cm in diameter even at the base) and the leaves are narrow (about 35 cm long by 6 cm wide). The inflorescence is quite small - less than 2 cm in width and height at maturity on the plants I have seen. The bracteole and calyx are yellow - not the normal red color found in most Costus spp.

OBSERVATION NOTES:

Santa María, Boyacá, Colombia, Latitude 4.85, Longitude -73.27, at meters elevation.

Punta Marenco, Drake area, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Latitude 8.684, Longitude -83.7106, at 5 meters elevation.

Los Mogos, Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica, Latitude 8.715, Longitude -83.435, at 5 meters elevation.

Quebrada trail, El Remanso Lodge, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Latitude 8.385, Longitude -83.311, at 70 meters elevation.

Pacific coast, Cabo Matapalo, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Latitude 8.3796, Longitude -83.3, at 10 meters elevation.

Cabo Matapalo, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Latitude 8.38266, Longitude -83.31, at 5 meters elevation.


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