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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 4317

Costus curvibracteatus


OLD NAME: Costus curvibracteatus

NEW NAME: Costus curvibracteatus

NAME CHANGE NOTES:

FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus curvibracteatus Maas

STATUS : accepted

CONTINENT: Neotropical

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FIELD OBSERVATIONS

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SYNONYMS:


BOTANICAL NOTES:
Costus curvibracteatus is an accepted neotropical species of Costus described and named in 1976 by Paul Maas from a 1974 collection at the Parque Nacional Tapantí by Paul Maas and J. Cramer. It is described as a terminal flowering plant forming a large, colorful inflorescence with bracts that are curved outwards. The bract colors vary by region, red at the base but some having a bright yellow apex. The flowers are (in most forms) quite small and more or less hidden by the bracts. They are yellow to orange and tubular. Costus curvibracteatus grows in the mountainous parts of Costa Rica and Panama elevations between 1000 and 1500 meters in areas of high rainfall. It flowers year round.

I have seen Costus curvibracteatus many times in various localities in Costa Rica and Panama. In July 2016 I revisited the type locality in PN Tapanti, Costa Rica. The type of the species grows to nearly 3 meters tall and produces a large, showy inflorescence with bright red-orange bracts that are yellow toward the apex, but with very small flowers that are mostly hidden beneath the bracts. The plants in Panama have mostly red bracts with short yellow flowers. These plants have a short truncate ligule characteristically with a dark puplish margin.

There is a distinctly different form found in northern Costa Rica, in the eastern side of the Tilaran Mountains and in the Cordillera Central in Parque Nacionál Braulio Carrillo. This form has nearly solid red bracts with longer yellow tubular flower that extends well past the bracts. These plants also differ from the type by having a longer, lobed ligule that is absent the purplish ring at the margins.

Another plant that was mentioned by Maas in his 1977 monograph produces a basal inflorescence from a separate flowering shoot, and has been proposed to be published as a new species, Costus callosus.

In 2014 I completed an IUCN Red List assessment for this species and it is now classified as Least Concern. My assessment can be found at http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/full/56344647/0.

A Paul Maas collection 9381 from San Ramon, Alajuela, Costa Rica was sampled for DNA at Cornell University and found in a separate clade close to the new species Costus callosus and in a lineage with the species Costus pulverulentus.

HORTICULTURAL NOTES:
Based on information at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) this species is in ex situ cultivation at 18 botanical gardens world wide. I have found this species to be somewhat difficult to grow here in Tallahassee, perhaps due to our very hot summers.

The Peruvian species Costus productus is sometimes incorrectly listed and sold under this name and may have been incorrectly reported by some botanical gardens. The true Costus curvibracteatus until very recently has been rarely found in cultivation in the US. Costus productus is listed underPID #3789.

ACCESSIONS:Click links (if any) to see details of individual collections. R2973- R3032- R3134- R3142- R3184- R3185- R3243- R3244- R3285- R3367- R3370- R3499-


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Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 4317
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Costus curvibracteatus, photo from Skinner, taken at Rio Purisil, Cartago, Costa Rica - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 195 Accession# R0
Costus curvibracteatus, photo from Skinner, taken at Rio Purisil, Cartago, Costa Rica


Costus curvibracteatus, showing flower, photo from Skinner, taken in Fortuna area, Panama - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 196 Accession# R0
Costus curvibracteatus, showing flower, photo from Skinner, taken in Fortuna area, Panama


Costus curvibracteatus type specimen - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 479 Accession# R0
Costus curvibracteatus type specimen


Costus curvibracteatus, ligules, photo from Skinner R3367, Tapanti, Cartago, Costa Rica - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 197 Accession# R3367
Costus curvibracteatus, ligules, photo from Skinner R3367, Tapanti, Cartago, Costa Rica