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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 4871

Costus beckii


OLD NAME: Costus beckii

NEW NAME: Costus beckii

NAME CHANGE NOTES:

FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus beckii Maas & H.Maas

STATUS : accepted

CONTINENT: Neotropical

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FIELD OBSERVATIONS

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SYNONYMS:


BOTANICAL NOTES:
Costus beckii is an accepted neotropical species of Costus described by Paul and Hiltje Maas in 1990. It was published in Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh 46(3): 309. 1990. The type specimen was collected in Bolivia, Cochabamba, Chapare, Villa Tunari, 14 km south toward Palmar at 550 meters at the foot of the mountains by S. G. Beck #7324 on 24 Nov 1981. It is described as having a basal inflorescence with red bracts and yellow tubular flowers. It is distinguished from Costus vargasii by the long (55-60 mm) lobed ligules and densely hairy vegetative parts. The type is from southern Bolivia but Maas noted a Peruvian collection near Shintuya which is at the end of the road that passes through Atalaya near the Rio Madre de Dios. Another Peruvian collection verified by Maas in 1998 and 2002 is at MoBot, collected 1996 by Fernando Cornejo V. & A. Balarezo #2670 in Peru, department Puno, Carabaya at 550 - 600 m. (Cabeceras del Río Candamo. Plano. Colinoso). It is mostly recorded flowering at the end of the dry period or early in the rainy period. At its type locality it was found to be mostly in fruit with mature inflorescences near the end of the rainy season.

I have visited all three of these areas and have seen some diversity in the forms of Costus beckii that are found there. In February 2013 I traveled to the upper Rio Madre de Dios and along the road near the village of Atalaya I found two forms that fit well into C. beckii. Form 1 was flowering both basally on a leafless shoot and terminally on a leafy shoot. The ligules were long and lobed, and all parts were puberulous, including the bracts, bracteole and calyx thus distinguishing it from the C. vargasii that was also growing along that road. Nearby was a second plant (R3258-Form 2) that was similar except that the ligules were distinctively purple in color. That second form is growing in my garden from seeds collected there, but has not yet flowered in my garden. I have written up a report describing these two plants.
http://www.gingersrus.com/images/P4871-PDF/Costus_aff_beckii-Peru.pdf

In March 2017 I traveled to the type locality in Bolivia and found that this species is very common in that region. Most of the plants are basal flowering (as described by Maas) but a few of the plants also flower there terminally. The flowers there are mostly orange instead of yellow, unlike the Peruvian plants I have seen. Seeds were collected from several different plants in the region, but only one collection thus far (R3393) has flowered in cultivation. It flowered terminally and produced orange flowers instead of yellow.

In March 2018 I traveled the Interoceanic Highway through Puno, Peru on the way to San Gabán to look for Costus asteranthus. Along this road I saw several populations of a plant that looks exactly like the cultivated plant known as Costus 'Alan's Red' (my R3280). I collected seeds there and both the 'Alan's Red' and my own collection (R3437) have flowered in my garden. This form has very long lobed ligules and is densely hairy throughout. It has only flowered terminally (not basally) and produces pure yellow flowers. The Mark Collins' collection that is now named as the cultivar Costus 'Alan's Red', is believed to have come from this same locality and is described further at Costus 'Alan's Red' - PID 7405 .

A leaf tissue sample from my C. beckii collection R3394 has been sent to Cornell University for inclusion in the molecular phylogeny. The whole genome of this sample was sequenced. This was grown from seeds collected very near the type locality south of Villa Tunari. That sample and another sample collected in the same region by Chelsea Specht was found to be in a clade close to Costus asteranthus.

HORTICULTURAL NOTES:
Based on information at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) this species is in ex situ cultivation at only 3 botanical gardens world wide. I have found this species to be relatively easy to grow in my garden and greenhouses at Le Jardín Ombrage. The only form of C. beckii that is common in cultivation is the Mark Collins collection called 'Alan's Red' that is believed collected from department Puno in Peru. It is distributed by his son Colton Collins at Plant Group Hawaii.

ACCESSIONS:Click links (if any) to see details of individual collections. R3255- R3258- R3392- R3393- R3394- R3437-


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Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 4871
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Costus beckii type specimen - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 462 Accession# R0
Costus beckii type specimen


Costus beckii type specimen - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 463 Accession# R0
Costus beckii type specimen


Costus beckii type specimen - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 464 Accession# R0
Costus beckii type specimen


Costus beckii, photo from Skinner R3392, Villa Tunari area, Cochabamba, Bolivia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 168 Accession# R3392
Costus beckii, photo from Skinner R3392, Villa Tunari area, Cochabamba, Bolivia


Costus beckii, photo from Skinner R3392, Villa Tunari area, Cochabamba, Bolivia - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 169 Accession# R3392
Costus beckii, photo from Skinner R3392, Villa Tunari area, Cochabamba, Bolivia