PLANT FAMILY: Costaceae
BOTANICAL NAME: Paracostus
FORMAL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Paracostus C.D.Specht
Paracostus is a very small genus of plants in the plant family Costaceae split off as a separate genus from Costus in 2006 by Dr. Chelsea Specht. They are described as short or prostrate rhizomatous herbs ascending as a climbing herb, 10-50 cm in height with one or a few leaves each of which potentially subtends an axillary inflorescence instead of a terminal inflorescence on a leafy or basal leafless stem as in Costus or Chamaecostus or arising from the rhizome as in some species of Cheilocostus. The inflorescence is an abbreviated spike emerging directly from the axis of a solitary leaf, with few flowers, more like Monocostus. The stigma is cup shaped like Chamaecostus and lacks the lobes of Costus species. Previously they were classified by Schumann as a subgenus of Costus.
This genus is mainly known from the island of Borneo in Sarawak, Malaysia but one species included in the genus is from Africa. The African species (P. englerianus) is distinctly different from the Borneo species, described as having a solitary leaf and procumbent, but also rooting at the nodes per one description. Three new Borneo species were described in 2006 based on minor differences from the long-recognized P. paradoxus.