Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 7851
Costus sp. Daisy
CURRENT NAME: Costus possible sp. nov. unnamed
PROPOSED NAME: Costus sp. Daisy
NAME CHANGE NOTES: Possible sp. nov., as yet undescribed and unnamed, found in Putumayo, Colombia, similar to C. zamoranus but densely puberulous.
FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME: Costus L.
STATUS : sp. nov. unnamed
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GOOGLE PHOTO ALBUM
This phenotype is proposed for future publication, but has not yet been given a proposed species name.
In 2018 I was in Putumayo in southern Colombia and my guide Freddie Segura took me into an area of primary forest behind his tourist area called "Donde Se Oculta El Sol" (where the sun is hidden). In that area I saw only two species - Costus amazonicus and another species also with basal inflorescence, but clearly a different species with smaller leaves, thinner sheaths and shorter hairs. It was not in flower there, only had old inflorescences. Five days later we were at the Centro Experimental Amazonico (CEA) near Macoa, walking the trails with an employee named Daisey, and I saw many more of this same plant form, and finally spotted one with good flowers. I collected leaf tissue for DNA and took detailed photos and measurements.
This new species is quite short, usually about 1 meter tall, densely covered with hairs on all vegetative parts. The globular inflorescence is usually borne on a very short scape, at ground level up to about 12 cm. The bracts are not appendaged, green in the exposed part, red in the hidden part. Flowers are the open labellum type with red stripes. Overall, it appears very much like the species Costus zamoranus and we thought at first that it might just be a hairy form of that species.
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. DNA was extracted and included in a phylogeny tree. This turned out to be widely separated from Costus zamoranus and in a clade close to Costus longibracteolatus. It is possible that this is a hybrid between C. longibracteolatus and C. amazonicus, both of which are found in the region. However, based on the wide distribution of my observations with populations of many plants in an area where C. longibracteolatus was not found, I believe it more likely to be a good species. Further reserach is needed.