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Datasheet for Costus maximus

Plant Datasheet for Costus maximus

BOTANICAL NAME: Costus maximus
CONTINENT: Neotropical

Costus maximus K.Schum., nom. illeg. (syn. of C. laevis) - Type collected 1898 by A. Tonduz 12926 at Tucurrique in San Jose Province.

Tucurrique. Oersted, Tonduz, Wercklé. 777 m (A), CARTAGO: Tucurrique, Town along the Río Reventazón, SW of Turrialba. 9.856°, -83.721° The species name seems to indicate the "giganteus" form of Costus laevis such as the one I saw near Shiroles, also on the Caribbean side. All the species that have been placed in Costus laevis need to be reviewed by taxonomists and molecular studies completed. There is a tremendous variability in this species even within a given country (Costa Rica or Ecuador for example). In July 2016 I explored this area, and in photographed many examples of these plants, both at Reserva La Marta near Tucurrique and in the area the other side of the ridge toward Siquirres. The plants found in this region are similar to others I have seen on the Atlantic side of Costa Rica and Panama. They are distinctively different looking from those on the Pacific side. They grow much larger in stature and have shorter, truncate ligules instead of the long deeply lobed ligules of the Pacific side. There are other major issues involving the entire genus Costus laevis, discussed atPID 3601.

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