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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 4616

Parahellenia tonkinensis

OLD NAME: Cheilocostus tonkinensis

NEW NAME: Parahellenia tonkinensis

NAME CHANGE NOTES: Moved to the new genus Parahellenia

FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Parahellenia tonkinensis (Gagnep.) Juan Chen, N.H. Xia, L.Y. Zeng & S.Jin Zeng,

STATUS : accepted


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Asian Costus, may be an obsolete synonym, part of the "Costus globosus complex". It is listed as an accepted species on The Plant List: "The record derives from WCSP which reports it as an accepted name (record 234801?) with original publication details: Bull. Soc. Bot. France 49: 248 1902." They still have it listed under the genus Costus.

Described in Flora of China, Vol. 24 (Flagellariaceae-Marantaceae). Science Press & Missouri Botanical Garden.

Costus tonkinensis Gagnepain, Bull. Soc. Bot. France 49: 248. 1902.

????? guang ye bi qiao jiang

Stems 2-4 m. Branchlets spirally twisted. Leaf blade obo-vate-oblong, 12-20 × 4-8cm, glabrescent, base attenuateor sub-rounded, apex acute. Inflorescences arising from rhizomes, glo-bose or ovoid, ca. 8 cm in diam.; peduncle 4-13 cm; bracts imbricate, oblong, 2.5-4.5 cm, apex sharply pointed; bracteoles 1-1.4 cm, apex sharply pointed. Flowers yellow. Calyx ca. 3 cm, apex slightly widened, 3-toothed; teeth acute at apex. Corolla longer than calyx; lobes linear-lanceolate, subequal, ca. 3.2 cm. Labellum trumpet-shaped, 5-6 cm, base slightly narrowed, margin crisped. Stamen yellowish, petaloid, apex emarginate. Ovary 3-angled. Capsule globose, ca. 1 cm in diam. Seeds black. Fl. Jul-Aug, fr. Sep-Nov. 2n = 18*.

Forest floors. Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan [Vietnam].


Dr. PJM Maas, in Notes on Asiatic and Australian Costoidae, Blumea 25 (1979) 543-549: Maas describes a "Costus globosus complex" - needs more study before it can be determined where the boundaries are between species. Characterized by inflo on separate, short, leafless shoot, bracts spiny at apex. Lists a whole series of plants in this complex: C acanthocephalus from Sumatra, C. chrysocephalus from New Guinea, C. clemensae from Philippines, C. dhanivatii from Thailand, C. globosus from Java, C. kingii and C. globosus var. kingii from Malay Peninsula, C. microcephalus from Borneo, C. oligophyllus and C. kunstleri from Maylay Peninsula, C. ridleyi and C. globosus var. ridleyi from Malay Peninsula and Thailand, C. sulfureus from Celebes, C. tonkinensis from Tonkin, C. velutinus and C. globosus var. velutinus from Malay Peninsula.

Schumann describes this species and places in subgenus Eucostus - Das Pflanzenreich IV, 1904.

Tom Wood - Costus globosus always has a basal inflorescence. It has a wide range (Malaya, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Thailand, Vietnam, and southern China). There is much variation in flower color from pure, light yellow to all bright red. C. tonkinensis is a synonym for this species.


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Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 4616