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

Gingersrus Database Taxon ID 7853

Costus pictus (Mesoamerican red flower form)

OLD NAME: Mesoamerican Red flower form

NEW NAME: Costus pictus (Mesoamerican red flower form)

NAME CHANGE NOTES: Red flowering form from the Pacific side of the mountains in Mesoamerica from southern Mexico to northern Costa Rica


STATUS : distinct form

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.)


In 2014 I visited the western part of Chiapas, Mexico in the coffee growing area near Tapachula. There I found two different looking forms of the species Costus pictus. In the upper elevations (above about 1000 meters) the plants all had the "normal" yellow flowers, but in the lower elevations around the city of Tapachula, all the plants were producing flowers with bright red corollas. This flower color was also found near the Cascada San Francisco on the Rio Cuilco and near the Cascade Monte Cristo to the north.

Since that time I have come to recognize this form of Costus pictus to be a separate species from the yellow flowering form to the east and on the Atlantic side of the mountains of Mesoamerica. I created a project on to tag the observations of this color form and to map them. So far I have identified 37 observations of this red flowering form and all of them are along the Pacific side of Mesoamerica from southern Mexico to northern Costa Rica.

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. Two of my accessions from the Tapachula area were included in the molecular phylogeny, as well as the Costus 'Red Baron' collection from northern Costa Rica, and they were found in a separate clade from the other Costus pictus. Further research is needed to distinguish them from the others but I believe they will be found to be a separate species to be described and named.


ACCESSIONS:Click links (if any) to see details of individual collections. R3319-

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Photos (if available) of Taxon ID 7853