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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 7299

Costus alleniopsis

OLD NAME: Costus sp. nov.

NEW NAME: Costus alleniopsis

NAME CHANGE NOTES: Form similar to C. allenii, now published March 22, 2023 in PhytoKeys 222: 75-127 as a new species.

FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus alleniopsis Maas & D.Skinner

STATUS : sp. nov.

CONTINENT: Neotropical

FIELD OBSERVATIONS:(If field observations are available, you can click on the link to open in a new window.)

PHOTOS:(If photos are available, you can click on the link to open in a new window.)


Costus alleniopsis was published March 22, 2023 in PhytoKeys 222: 75-127, authors Paul Maas and Dave Skinner. In July 2019 I visited the area where this new species is known and took detailed measurements and photos to assist Paul Maas in the description. My field observations may be seen in the link above, listed currently under the related name Costus allenii.

Maas in the Flora Neotropica monograph #18, described a form of Costus allenii in the Santa Fe region of Veraguas, Panama that is aberrant in having strongly plicate leaves and a ligule up to 20 mm long. He proposed that it might be a separate species and asked me to investigate the living plants.

Based on the data and photographs collected in the Santa Fe area, we will be describing this as a new species Costus alleniopsis. This new species has broad plicate leaves on a plant that grows to under 2 meters tall. The vegetative parts are quite hairy. The species flowers either terminally on a leafy stem or at the base on a leafless or nearly leafless stem. It is found only in west central parts of Panama and flowers in the rainy season.

A partial phylogeny was completed by Eugenio Valderrama and his associates in the Chelsea Specht Lab at Cornell University and was published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science in September 2022. Three samples were included and were shown to be tightly related in a separate clade, closest to C. allenii as might be expected.

In 2001 a specimen from Neil Carroll, (R2959) was collected in Panama in SF-Guabal, along the trail between Santa Fe and Guabal. This had a thick spongy sheath and plicate leaves and may have been an example of this new species. It flowered in cultivation in June 2003 but since then this accession has been lost. Another collection (R3136) at El Cope in central Panama not far from Santa Fe also has plicate leaves and may have been this new species. The leaves on this one are narrower than R2959, and it has flowered both at the base and terminal.

Seeds were collected from plants found near Santa Fe, Panama during the 2019 trip. There was some germination but the small plants did not survive and I am trying again to germinate some seeds.

ACCESSIONS:Click links (if any) to see details of individual collections. R2959- R3136- R3497- R3498- R3503- R3504-

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Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 7299
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Costus alleniopsis type specimen - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 453 Accession# R0
Costus alleniopsis type specimen

Costus alleniopsis, photo from Skinner R3498, Panama, Veraguas - Click to see full sized image
Photo# 154 Accession# R3498
Costus alleniopsis, photo from Skinner R3498, Panama, Veraguas