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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 7376

Costus comosus 'Cliff Dweller'

OLD NAME: Costus comosus 'Cliff Dweller'

NEW NAME: Costus comosus 'Cliff Dweller'

NAME CHANGE NOTES: Cultivar of C. maritimus form of Costus comosus


STATUS : registered cultivar

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.)


I first saw this plant in 2005, at the southern tip of the Osa Penisula, a place known as Cabo Matapalo. I did not know what species it was but thought that it was an example of a plant mentioned in the Manuel de Plantas of Costa Rica from the Isle de Cańo as a possible hybrid or intermediate of C. comosus with C. Villosissimus. My report on this observation can be found at

I returned to the site in 2011 and examined the plants more closely. They were growing all along the steep slopes at the beach, right up to the edge of the sand, but were not found at all any farther up the slope. There were many mature inflorescences found but all were sterile, without any seeds, so either this is a sterile hybrid or the pollinator is absent from this area. This plant remains a mystery. For now I am placing it in C. comosus and ascribing a cultivar name as 'Cliff Dweller'.

This cultivar is described as follows: "Appears to be a hybrid or variety of C. comosus, plant is sterile, produces green bracts with long pendent triangular foliaceus appendages and yellow tubular flowers. Bracteole and calyx are white to pale green. Vegetative parts are glabrous to velutinous and ligule is extremely short (1-2 mm) and truncate. Leaf base is cordate unlike description of C. comosus." The cultivar Registry Photo at Cultivar published in the Heliconia Society Quarterly Bulletin, Vol. 19, No. 4, December, 2013.

I have since then learned that this is nothing other than the "maritimus" form of Costus comosus which grows on steep bluffs all along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica from the Golfo Dulce aound the Osa Peninsula and north as far as Dominical. It is also quite common on the Isla Cańo off the coast from Drake.

R3208 is the sterile plant that was found at Cabo Matapalo and has been given the cultivar name 'Cliff Dweller'. This might be exactly the same as the other "maritimus" types found along the northern coast of the Golfo Dulce. They are shown at PID 6125. R3208 has been vouchered at the UC Berkeley, Jepsen Herbarium, UC2045789.

ACCESSIONS:Click links (if any) to see details of individual collections. R3208-

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Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 7376