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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 7518

Costus 'Mellow Yellow'

OLD NAME: Costus 'Mellow Yellow'

NEW NAME: Costus 'Mellow Yellow'

NAME CHANGE NOTES: Natural hybrid


STATUS : registered cultivar

CONTINENT: Neotropical

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Costus 'Mellow Yellow' was grown from seed collected in 2006 at Reserva Durika in Costa Rica at nearly 2000 meters. The seed plant was not in flower at time of collection but otherwise was consistent with Costus wilsonii. When the seeds germinated and grew, some of them produced the normal Costus wilsonii, some produced a strange little dwarf plant that grew to no more than about 10 cm tall, and some produced a plant that was clearly something entirely different. I thought it was either a new species or a form of Costus pictus.

I returned to the area in 2011 at the peak flowering time and verified that the population there was Costus wilsonii. Neither this other plant form nor any other species than C. wilsonii was found on the ridge where I had collected those seeds. After some investigation I found that the species Costus villosissimus is in the same region in a valley at lower elevation and I guessed that this plant was from a natural hybrid of C. villosissimus pollen with C. wilsonii which is the only species found at that elevation. I believe that a hummingbird had visited the lower elevation C. villosissimus and then pollinated a C. wilsonii at the top or the ridge where the seed was collected. This cultivar was published in the December 2012 issue of the Heliconia Society International quarterly Bulletin.

Cultivar Description: 'Mellow Yellow' has broad, spreading, C. villosissimus-type flowers but with non-appendaged bracts and generally shorter, sparser hairs on the vegetative parts. Basal stems display a pattern similar to the 'Heiroglyphic' form of C. pictus. Ligules are short, about 3-5 mm long with longer hairs at the ligule than the rest of the stems and leaves. The bracts are green and non-appendaged except for the lowest bracts. Flowers are broad and yellow.

Cultivar Registry Photo at Cultivar published in the Heliconia Society Quarterly Bulletin, Vol. 19, No. 4, December, 2013.The whole genome of this accession was sequenced at Cornell University and included in a molecular phylogeny. It was found to be in a clade very close to Costus villosissimus thus verifying the parentage of this natural hybrid.


ACCESSIONS:Click links (if any) to see details of individual collections. R3091-

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Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 7518
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Photo# 258 Accession# R0

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Photo# 259 Accession# R0