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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 5198

Costus mosaicus

OLD NAME: Costus mosaicus

NEW NAME: Costus mosaicus


FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME: ?ostus ligularis Baker ("mosaicus form")

STATUS : unknown


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This African species is listed as an "insufficiently known name" in Paul Maas' monograph on African Costaceae, published on 16 December 2016. (Monograph of African Costaceae, H. Maas-van de Kamer, P.J.M. Maas, J.J. Wieringa, C.D. Specht, Blumea 61, 2016: 280 - 318,

This was believed to be a valid African species of Costus, but has sometimes been referred to as Costus ligularis. In 2013 I noticed that Dr. Maas had mentioned this plant as C. ligularis in his description of C. loangensis. I emailed Dr. Chelsea Specht to determine whether the correct species name for this plant had been determined. She explained that it is a highly variable species in the wild and that the living collections have the "mosaicus" form but recent collections are not as hirsute or silvery. She said that they are going with ligularis which has precedence. Until the monograph on African Costus was published, I had transferred this name in my database to call it "forma mosaicus" to distinguish it from other forms of the species Costus ligularis. I now revert back to the species name Costus mosaicus, as insufficiently known.

The African Plant Database still lists this species as accepted, but with uncertain status. Indicated as "imported from Congo. No specimen known. Taxonomic status uncertain.
From: "Ray Lampert" - Just a quick note re Costus mosaicus; I've searched a couple of databases and there are no recent references to this species, however it is listed in "Index Kewensis" as being described in 1887 and coming from the Congo. (NOTE: Picture from Kew Gardens matches specimen at Mercer Aboretum tagged as Costus verschaffeltii.)

From: Brian Middleditch in 2001 - Costus mosaicus is the correct name. I checked the actual entry in the William Bull & Sons 1887 catalog - the first publication of the name of this species. I, too, have seen it spelled "musaicus," but that is an error. Described by "Bull" in 1887 on page 10 of a publication called "Cat." I found this species and reference in the First Supplement (1906) to the Index Kewensis, page 112. Based on the publication date I guessed that the author was William Bull (1828-1902), and that he had reported this new species in a catalog. IPNI contains the full, but still cryptic, Index Kewensis entry. The author is, indeed, William Bull and the publication is listed as "Catal." more or less confirming my suspicions that it is a catalog listing. The original source is given as the Congo. If my memory is correct this used to be the Belgian Congo, then became Zaire. The other Congo used to be French Equatorial Africa. The River Congo (or Zaire) flows between the two countries.

This plant form is common in cultivation and has been considered a form of c. ligularis but in his monograph on African Costus, Dr. Maas listed it as being insufficiently known.

ACCESSIONS:Click links (if any) to see details of individual collections. R1634- R2012-

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Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 5198
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Costus mosaicus - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 632 Accession# R0
Costus mosaicus