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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 4111

Costus erythrothyrsus

OLD NAME: Costus erythrothyrsus

NEW NAME: Costus erythrothyrsus


FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus erythrothyrsus Loes.

STATUS : accepted

CONTINENT: Neotropical

FIELD OBSERVATIONS:(If field observations are available, you can click on the link to open in a new window.)

PHOTOS:(If photos are available, you can click on the link to open in a new window.)


Costus erythrothyrsus is an accepted species of neotropical Costus first described by Loesener in 1929 from a collection by Guntar Tessmann in 1924 in Peru near the Pongo de Manseriche where the Rio Santiago meets the Rio Marańon. His holotype was destroyed in Berlin but a copy in Geneva was chosen by Paul Maas as the lectotype.

Maas described the species as a plant growing from 1 to 3.5 meters tall with red to pink non-appendaged bracts and tubular flowers with red corolla and pink labellum. He distinguishes it from Costus spiralis by the abaxial orientatio of the flower vs. adaxial flowers in C. spiralis. He indicates that it usually flowers from a separate leafless shoot at the base but sometimes flowering terminally on leafy stems.

Costus erythrothyrsus is recorded in two widely separated regions with different climatic patterns, raising questions of whether two different species might be involved. One region includes French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, and adjacent northern parts of Brazil where there is a short dry season in September and October. Here the the species flowers in the rainy season. The other region is predominantly in Amazonian areas of Peru and Brazil (including the locality of the original type collection by Tessman) where there is a less distinct dry season and the species appears to flower year round. There is also a narrow leaf form from Acre, Brazil that Dr. Maas is proposing as a new species to be called Costus douglasdalyi.

There is a plant in cultivation of unknown origin that is a very short form with thin stems and flowering either terminally or basally that has been included in this species. I have seen plants in Acre, Brazil far up the Rio Azul close the Peruvian border that I believe to be this species, but I really am not certain.

A partial 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. Paul Maas' collection 9334 from French Guiana has been sampled for DNA and this single sample is in a separate clade in a lineage with Costus claviger which also occurs in the Guianas. No sampling has been done from the type locality or other Amazonian regions of Peru or Brazil to see if they are the same species.

Based on information at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) this species is in ex situ cultivation at 5 botanical gardens world wide.

ACCESSIONS:Click links (if any) to see details of individual collections. R2256- R2709- R3469-

Copyright © 1999-2023 - Dave Skinner,
All text and images on this page are copyrighted. They may be downloaded and/or printed for personal use and scientific research, but may not be published in paper or electronic media without my express consent. They absolutely may not be used commercially in any way whatsoever without my express consent. To inquire about permissions, contact

Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 4111
Click on a thumbnail to load full sized image.
Use your "back" button to come back to this page.

Costus erythrothyrsus, photo from Skinner, taken at Burgers Bush, Netherlands - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 207 Accession# R0
Costus erythrothyrsus, photo from Skinner, taken at Burgers Bush, Netherlands

Costus erythrothyrsus type specimen - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 485 Accession# R0
Costus erythrothyrsus type specimen