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Datasheet for Chamaecostus subsessilis

Plant Datasheet for Chamaecostus subsessilis


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Photo# 13199 Specimen# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13200 Specimen# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13201 Specimen# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13202 Specimen# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13203 Specimen# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13204 Specimen# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13123 Specimen# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13124 Specimen# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13125 Specimen# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13126 Specimen# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13127 Specimen# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13205 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13206 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13207 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13208 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13128 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13129 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13130 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13131 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13132 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13133 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13134 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13135 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13136 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13137 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13138 Specimen# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, DF


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Photo# 13209 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13210 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13211 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13212 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13139 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13140 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13141 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13142 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13143 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13144 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13145 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13146 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13147 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13148 Specimen# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From Brazil, Mato Grosso


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Photo# 13213 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13214 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13215 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13216 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13217 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13218 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13219 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13220 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13221 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13222 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13223 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13224 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13225 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13226 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13227 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13228 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13149 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13150 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13151 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13152 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13153 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13154 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13155 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13156 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13157 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13158 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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Photo# 13159 Specimen# R2839
Chamaecostus subsessilis
From cultivated, origin assumed


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 #R2839 . (opens in new window).

PLANT FAMILY: Costaceae
BOTANICAL NAME: Chamaecostus subsessilis
FORMAL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Chamaecostus subsessilis (Nees & Mart.) C.Specht & D.W.Stev.
STATUS :Accepted
CONTINENT: Neotropical
SYNONYMS:
Costus subsessilis Nees & Mart. (1823), Costus pumilus Petersen in Mart. (1890), Costus paucifolius L.F.Gagnep. (1902), Costus rosulifer L.F.Gagnep. (1902), Costus latifolius L.F.Gagnep. (1902), Costus pumilus Petersen var. pilosissimus L.F.Gagnep. (1902), Costus gagnepainii K.Schum. (1904),

BOTANICAL NOTES:
Described by P. J. M. Maas in Flora Neotropica. P. J. M. Maas, Flora Neotropica Monograph No. 18 - Previously known as C. warmingii, Maas found it to be identical to a specimen named as Globba subsessilis and thus established Costus subsessilis as the correct name. It is quite variable in form and has a wide range from eastern Brazil in the severely seasonally dry cerrado to the Amzonian parts of eastern Bolivia. I found it growing wild in a small forest patch in a city park in Brasilia, Brazil and also very common in Mato Grosso state around Altafloresta and Cristalino. I wrote an article about the Chamaecostus of Cristalino published in the December 2012 issue of the Heliconia Society International quarterly Bulletin.

This species was included in the 2006 phylogentic studies of Dr. Chelsea Specht along with C. cuspidatus, C. lanceolatus and C. curcumoides. Her specimen source was a Bolivian collection. The plant was in a clade closest to C. cuspidatus.

This is the Chamaecostus subsessilis form that is found in cultivation in the US. I have been told it originated in Bolivia. It matches the description of the newly described Chamaecostus acaulis and if from Bolivia it undoubtably belongs to that species instead of C. subsessilis. SEE PID #6082 FOR FURTHER DETAILS ON THIS.

The range for this plant extends from cerrado areas of Brazil to the upper Amazon of Bolivia. There were originally 10 separate species described for this plant, but Dr. Maas combined them to one species - Costus warmingii - in 1972, then later changed that to C. subsessilis in 1976 upon discovering an earlier name for the plant. My thumbnail sheet for the cultivated C. subsessilis is at http://www.gingersrus.com/images/P4610-Cultivated/

This is the Chamaecostus subsessilis plant I found in a small forest patch in a city park in the city of Brasilia, Brazil. http://www.gingersrus.com/images/P4610-Brasilia/index.htm

While in Alta Floresta, I met up with three university students (Lais Lage, Marcos Jore, & Alam Bilibio) who were introduced to me by Thiago Andre. They took me to a study plot where they are collecting samples and taking measurements of Chamaecostus subsessilis for several studies they are conducting. The plants there were quite different from the Brasilia plants, similar to the one in cultivation except that the leaves were broader and shorter. Go to http://www.gingersrus.com/images/P4610-MatoGrosso/index.htm

Lais, Thiago, and Ivone Vieira da Silva with the Departamento de Biologia, Universidade do Estado de Mato Grosso, Campus de Alta Floresta are conducting studies of the cellular anatomy of the root tubers of Chamaecostus subsellis. Their article is published in the December 2012 issue of the Heliconia Society International quarterly Bulletin. Thiago Andre is currently working on his doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley with Chelsea Specht.

I was absolutely amazed when I saw Chamaecostus subsessilis in habitat at Cristalino. Clearly, this species is happiest when growing on or around rocks. I saw it nearly carpeting large rocky outcrops. I saw it growing between and at the base of large boulders. It was absent in areas of the forest floor where there were no rocks. I still need to research to determine for sure, but I was told that the rocks here are a specific type of volcanic conglomerate which may hold moisture during the dry season. I believe these plants were using the spaces between and under these rocks for the tuberous roots to maintain cooler temperatures and moisture during the long hard dry season. More on this later when I describe the Costus spiralis that was growing in the same habitat. I have loaded a thumbnail sheet for the C. subsessilis of Cristalino at http://www.gingersrus.com/images/P4610-Cristalino/

ACCESSION NOTES:
Le Jardin Ombragé - Costus subsessilis - a small yellow flowering Costus from South America, naturally goes dormant in winter. It is probably hardy to zone 8B and the rhizomes can be stored dry similar to Kaempferias. I left it outdoors in my zone 8-B Tallahassee garden for several years and it came back from dormancy with no problems.

From: Tim Chapman - Costus subsessilis is a beautiful dwarf species that rarily gets over one foot or so tall. It produces 3" plus yellow blooms for a fairly long season. As far as I know, all of the cultivated plants (in the US at least) come from the original two or three plants Bob See collected in Bolivia. He had a hard time keeping them alive and fortunately gave a few away. When I first met him, he only had one plant but took me to an orchid collector who had the only other two in cultivation. Believe it or not, these plants were about to be thrown away!!!! I was lucky enough to get them and have spread them around. The plant is now in tissue culture and is certainly in less danger of being lost in cultivation this time around. I'll post some photos to my site once I get the old slide scanner back in service. One thing to keep in mind is that it is a top heavy plant and shouldn't be moved around much. It tends to fall to one side and snap off sometimes if grown in pots. This species does have a natural dormancy, and does need to go dormant. I treat it like I do Curcuma and Kaemp. Etc., let it dry out and store the pots in a safe place. I've been told its hardy in zone 8, but haven't tried it myself yet.

From: Lester Kallus - My skepticism is gone. I was happy last year to learn that my Costus subsessilis would successfully survive hibernating the winter. I wasn't sure I believed it but so many folks told me it would that I went with the flow. After the last flower withered, I let the plant dry out totally. It spent the winter bone dry in a warm environment (usually between 70-73 degrees). A couple weeks ago, I started to divide my Kaempferia and in the process dug up the subsessilis. What I found was a shriveled, dried, seemingly dead tuber system. I was sad but planted it in new soil anyway and forgot it on one of the shelves of the greenhouse. I just looked, this afternoon, and see that it has survived what looked to be beyond hope. It's small, but there's about an inch of new growth. I'm still hoping that another shoot will come up so that I can begin to divide it, but I'm satisfied just having one. So for the rest of you in the north country: this is the Costus for us.

OBSERVATION NOTES:

Brasília - DF, Brazil, Latitude -15.741083, Longitude -47.885556, at 1030 meters elevation.

Cristalino, State of Mato Grosso, Brazil, Latitude -9.589833, Longitude -55.919833, at 300 meters elevation.

Alta Floresta - State of Mato Grosso, Brazil, Latitude -9.802094722, Longitude -55.92465694, at 275 meters elevation.

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
It's official! The genus Costus has been reclassified into 4 separate genera as of 2006. The Asian Costus species have been moved into the new genus Cheilocostus. Two species (from Asian and Africa) are now Paracostus, and the short neo tropical species formerly in subgenus Cadalvena are now moved to a new genus - Chamaecostus. One of these is the former Costus subsessilis. If you are interested in such things, a full explanation for the changes is on my website at http://www.gingersrus.com/CostusReclassification.htm.

Costus subsessilis' Chamaecostus subsessilis is a beautiful little plant with bright yellow flowers well contrasted against light green foliage. It grows to a height of less than a foot and is perfect for the front of a garden bed. It will sometimes produce a few bulbils but is mostly must be propagated by division of the rhizomes and is fairly slow to spread.

Chamaecostus subsessilis is one of the two species in Costaceae that is NOT an evergreen plant in its native habitat. This species is well adapted to a dormant period (in the dry season in the tropics) which is very much to our advantage in the southern US, because it can be overwintered while dormant. In fact, most sources rate it as zone 8 hardy, and I know it is hardy here in zone 8B Tallahassee. The rhizomes can be left outdoors in the ground where they will go dormant in fall (like Curcumas and Kaempferias) but will resprout in the spring, usually in late April. If you have any doubt about their hardiness, you can lift the rhizomes and store them overwinter semi-dry in a warm garage or closet. They prefer part shade and moist but well drained soil.


Costus subsessilis'

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