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Photo# 17699 Accession# R0
Costus cupreiflius isotype at NYBG
CLICK HERE for a detailed botanical description and identification key for this species (opens in new window).
PLANT FAMILY: Costaceae
BOTANICAL NAME: Costus cupreifolius
FORMAL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus cupreifolius Maas
This is an accepted neo-tropical Costus species described by Paul Maas in 1976. It is described as being about 1 meter tall with all vegetative parts except the upper side of the leaves being densely covered with white hairs. The lower side of the leaves is described having a coppery-red color for which the species is named. The terminal inflorescence is cylindric in shape with reflexed, foliaceous bract appendages and tubular flowers (in bud). Maas apparently did not have fully developed flowers to study and did not indicate the coloration of the corolla or labellum, but the isotype at NYBG has this description of the flowers by the collector, Joseph A. Ewan #16748. "Stems lower than 16747 being only 1 m. high, with a dense clavate inflor., fls. orange-yellow, tubular, less orchid-like, emerging from densely massed buds, a few fls. at a time, under side of lvs. coppery-red, attractive. Near San Diego de Colorado, tributary of Rio Putumayo, above Puerto Asis, Ca. 650 m. ele."
It is known only from the type locality in Putumayo, Colombia. Based on the reported elevation of 650 meters, and "tributary of Rio Putamayo", I believe this was collected somewhere near the town of Villagarzon, in the eastern foothills of the Andes. The locality of El Whiskey in Putumayo, Colombia is very close to this type species locality. It is on the Rio Gineo just 6 km south of Puerto Umbria at about 300 meters. There have been reported attacks by the FARC in this area as recently as 2009, so it has not been a safe area to visit, but the recent peace accord has now opened this area to exploration. No other collections of this species other than the type specimen were found in GBIF records.
Isotype specimen at NYBG Herbarium - http://www.nybg.org/bsci/hcol/vasc/Costaceae.html