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Datasheet for Chamaecostus subsessilis

Plant Datasheet for Chamaecostus subsessilis

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Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13128 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13129 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13130 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13131 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13132 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13133 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13134 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - found in a city park in a very small patch of remaining forest - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13135 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - found in a city park in a very small patch of remaining forest


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - found in a city park in a very small patch of remaining forest - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13136 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - found in a city park in a very small patch of remaining forest


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - Plants were smaller and more upright growing here than the cultivated plant from Bolivia or the plants seen in Cristalino - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13137 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - Plants were smaller and more upright growing here than the cultivated plant from Bolivia or the plants seen in Cristalino


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - they were only found in a section with rocky soil and often next to trees. - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13138 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - they were only found in a section with rocky soil and often next to trees.


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - immature seeds - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13205 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - immature seeds


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - leaves were mostly glabrous with purplish margins on the Brasilia plant - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13206 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia - leaves were mostly glabrous with purplish margins on the Brasilia plant


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia calyx with very sharp, triangular lobes - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13207 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia calyx with very sharp, triangular lobes


Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia flower - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13208 Accession# R3247
Chamaecostus subsessilis in Brasilia flower


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13123 Accession# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13124 Accession# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13125 Accession# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13126 Accession# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13127 Accession# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - bract, bracteole and calyx - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13199 Accession# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - bract, bracteole and calyx


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - flower parts - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13200 Accession# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - flower parts


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - immature seeds - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13201 Accession# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - immature seeds


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - inflorescence detail - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13202 Accession# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - inflorescence detail


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - Lais Alves Lage digging a plant to study the cellular structure of the root tubers. - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13203 Accession# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - Lais Alves Lage digging a plant to study the cellular structure of the root tubers.


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - Lais Alves Lage digging a plant to study the cellular structure of the root tubers. - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13204 Accession# R3248
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Alta Floresta study plot - Lais Alves Lage digging a plant to study the cellular structure of the root tubers.


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13139 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13140 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13141 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13142 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - a few plants had this greyish appearance to the leaves.  Some mineral deficiency? - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13143 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - a few plants had this greyish appearance to the leaves. Some mineral deficiency?


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - growing alongside a large boulder. - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13144 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - growing alongside a large boulder.


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - growing around and between rocks. - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13145 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - growing around and between rocks.


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - growing in leaf mulch in the crack of a boulder. - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13146 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - growing in leaf mulch in the crack of a boulder.


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - growing in leaf mulch on large rocky outcrop - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13147 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - growing in leaf mulch on large rocky outcrop


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino. Here on a large rocky outcrop the C. subsessilis nearly carpeted the rocks, mixed with another unknown plant. - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13148 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino. Here on a large rocky outcrop the C. subsessilis nearly carpeted the rocks, mixed with another unknown plant.


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13209 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - bracteole and calyx - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13210 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - bracteole and calyx


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - inflorescence parts detailed - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13211 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - inflorescence parts detailed


Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - root system and tuber - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 13212 Accession# R3251
Chamaecostus subsessilis at Cristalino - root system and tuber


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).
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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 acaulis, Costus gagnepainii, Costus kaempferoides, Costus latifolius, Costus paucifolius, Costus pilosissimus, Costus pumilus, Costus rosulifer, Costus steinbachii, Costus subsessilis, Costus warmingii,

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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