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Datasheet for Costus comosus var. bakeri - horticultural plant "barbatus"

Plant Datasheet for Costus comosus var. bakeri - horticultural plant "barbatus"


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Photo# 15367 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus -in Colombia


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Photo# 15368 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus - in Colombia, ligules


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Photo# 15369 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus - in Colombia


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Photo# 15370 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus at Fairchild Gardens, Miami


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Photo# 15371 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus- note basal inflorescences


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Photo# 15372 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus at Leu Gardens, Orlando


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Photo# 15373 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus at Nirvana Botanical Garden in Colombia - ligules


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Photo# 15374 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus at Nirvana Botanical Garden in Colombia


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Photo# 15375 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus at Nirvana Botanical Garden in Colombia


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Photo# 15376 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus basal flowering at the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii


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Photo# 15377 Specimen# R3031
Costus comosus/horticultural plant form
From Cultivated,


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Photo# 15378 Specimen# R3031
Costus comosus/horticultural plant form
From Cultivated,


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Photo# 15379 Specimen# R3031
Costus comosus/horticultural plant form
From Cultivated,


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Photo# 15380 Specimen# R3031
Costus comosus/horticultural plant form
From Cultivated,


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Photo# 15381 Specimen# R3031
Costus comosus/horticultural plant form
From Cultivated,


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Photo# 15382 Specimen# R3031
Costus comosus/horticultural plant form
From Cultivated,


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Photo# 15383 Specimen# R3031
Costus comosus/horticultural plant form
From Cultivated,


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Photo# 15384 Specimen# R3031
Costus comosus/horticultural plant form
From Cultivated,


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Photo# 15385 Specimen# R3031
Costus comosus/horticultural plant form
From Cultivated,


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Photo# 15386 Specimen# R3031
Costus comosus/horticultural plant form
From Cultivated,


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Photo# 15387 Specimen# R3031
Costus comosus/horticultural plant form
From Cultivated,


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Photo# 15388 Specimen# R3031
Costus comosus/horticultural plant form
From Cultivated,


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Photo# 15389 Specimen# R3031
Costus comosus/horticultural plant form
From Cultivated,


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Photo# 15390 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus - at Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, FL


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Photo# 15391 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus - at Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, FL


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Photo# 15581 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus - at Nirvana Reserve in Colombia. Note the short ligules and petioles matchi;ng the plant that is cultivated in the US as Costus barbatus.


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Photo# 15582 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus - at Nirvana Reserve in Colombia.


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Photo# 15583 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus - at Nirvana Reserve in Colombia. The origin of this planting is not known, whether it is from Colombia or elsewhere.


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Photo# 15584 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus - at Sr. Colonje's garden in Colombia. Plants look similar to the cultivated "barbatus" but origin is not known, whether it is from Colombia or elsewhere.


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Photo# 15585 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus - at Sr. Colonje's garden in Colombia.


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Photo# 15586 Specimen# R0
Costus comosus cultivated form known as barbatus - at Sr. Colonje's garden in Colombia.



PLANT FAMILY: Costaceae
BOTANICAL NAME: Costus comosus var. bakeri - horticultural plant "barbatus"
FORMAL SCIENTIFIC NAME:
STATUS :
CONTINENT: Neotropical
SYNONYMS:


BOTANICAL NOTES:
The plant that is commonly sold in US horticulture as Costus barbatus, is generally recognized to be a form of Costus comosus var. bakeri, but its origin in the wild is not known. In Australia it has been usually named as C. comosus var. bakeri. The variety is distinguished from var. comosus by having the upper side of the leaves glabrous and the bracts scabrid to the touch. The type species is from Guatemala which is the center of distribution for this variety, but the plant found in that region does not at all look like the cultivated Costus barbatus.

In March 2017 I visited the Villa Tunari area of Dept. Cochabamba in southern Bolivia. In that area I found a plant growing in a wild area, that is very close in form, nearly identical to the cultivated form of Costus comosus that is often incorrectly tagged as Costus barbatus. There are several early records in that region for C. comosus var. bakeri. Since the plant is so widely cultivated, I had to consider the possibility that the plants I saw had escaped from cultivation, but at least at one site, it was far away from populated areas.

In October 2017 I visited with Paul and Hiltje Maas in Holland. Dr. Maas told me that the C. comosus in that region is natural there - not escaped from cultivation. Dr. Maas has had this form cultivated in Holland at Utrecht since 1993. There is a collection record (Cardenas 7368) for this variety in adjacent Cochabamba Dept, Province Carroasco, at Puerto Polonia, Río Coni, 14 km E of San Antonio, that is dated in October of 1942, well before this species would likely have been in cultivation.

In December 2017 I found another plant in this form in Peru in a rather remote locality in Dept. Junín, along the road to the reserve at Pampa Hermosa.

This page is for photos of the cultivated form of "Costus barbatus" which is now generally accepted to be a form of Costus comosus.

ACCESSION NOTES:
R2691, R2947 and R3031 are all cultivated plants, commonly known as C. barbatus. R2947 came from Australia where this plant is known as Costus comosus var. bakeri. In general appearance, this plant is much closer to the C. comosus plants found in Colombia with the wider bract appendages, so its identity as var. bakeri is now in question.

GINGERSRUS CATALOG LISTING:
Costus comosus (Hort.barbatus) - flower This Costus is widely cultivated and one look will tell you why. The long-lasting inflorescense creates a virtual tower of flowers, leading to its common name as the "red tower ginger". The bright yellow flowers poke out from the red bracts and make this an exceptionally showy ginger. This is a tall ginger, growing to a height of 8 ft or a little more in frost free tropical areas.

The only real problem with this plant is the name. Many years ago it was introduced to US horticulture under the name Costus barbatus, which turned out to be incorrect, but the name has stuck and you will find this plant growing in many botanical gardens or listed in plant catalogs or in nurseries under the name Costus barbatus. In Australia, they have it right, usually listed under the name Costus comosus. I finally found the true species Costus barbatus in 2011. More on this at my website at http://www.gingersrus.com/DataSheet.php?PID=3074

It will grow in a fairly wide range of light conditions from part shade to full sun provided the soil is kept moist during active growth. Hardiness is rated to zone 9 (possibly zone 8B) and the foliage will tolerate cool temperatures but not freezing conditons. The rhizomes might survive, but unlike most other Costus species, Costus barbatus will not bloom if it freezes back in winter.


Costus comosus (Hort. barbatus)

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