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Costus Species Botanical Description Botanical Description page for GingersRus plant database number " 3074 ".
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Costus barbatus

Costus barbatus Suess.



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Photo# 15177 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus - mature inflorescence.


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Photo# 15178 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus


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Photo# 15179 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus


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Photo# 15180 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus - young inflorescence


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Photo# 15181 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus


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Photo# 15182 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus


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Photo# 15183 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus


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Photo# 15184 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus


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Photo# 15185 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus


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Photo# 15186 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus


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Photo# 15187 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus


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Photo# 15188 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus - reflexed bracts


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Photo# 15189 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus - leaves with densely puberulous undersides


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Photo# 15190 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus - sheaths and ligules densely puberulous. Ligules were measured and ranged 20-2 5mm long. The margins were purple.


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Photo# 15526 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus - petiole is about 8 mm long and puberulous


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Photo# 15527 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus - mature inflorescences


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Photo# 15528 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus - bract margins delacerating into fibers and densely puberulous.


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Photo# 15529 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus - nectar callus is absent, unusual in Costus


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Photo# 15530 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus - bracts, bracteoles and calyx


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Photo# 15531 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus - bracteole and calyx hairy and margins delacerating into fibers.


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Photo# 15532 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus - stamen slightly exceeds labellum


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Photo# 17619 Specimen# R0
Costus barbatus at Lankester Gardens, Costa Rica, photo by Bruce Dunstan


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Photo# 17620 Specimen# R0
Costus barbatus at Lankester Gardens, Costa Rica, photo by Bruce Dunstan


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Photo# 17621 Specimen# R0
Costus barbatus illustration in Maas' monograph No. 18, published in 1977


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Photo# 17842 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus from Rancho Redondo, in cultivation


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Photo# 17843 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus from Rancho Redondo, in cultivation - ligules


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Photo# 17844 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus from Rancho Redondo - hairs on corolla lobe


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Photo# 17845 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus from Rancho Redondo, in cultivation


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Photo# 17846 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus from Rancho Redondo, in cultivation


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Photo# 17847 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus from Rancho Redondo, in cultivation


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Photo# 17848 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus from Rancho Redondo, in cultivation


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Photo# 17849 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus from Rancho Redondo, in cultivation


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Photo# 17850 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus from Rancho Redondo, in cultivation - flower


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Photo# 17851 Specimen# R3213
Costus barbatus from Rancho Redondo, in cultivation - calyx, corolla lobes, stamen, labellum


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Photo# 17900 Specimen# R3368
Costus barbatus at MuƱeco, Costa Rica


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Photo# 17901 Specimen# R3368
Costus barbatus at MuƱeco, Costa Rica


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Photo# 17902 Specimen# R3368
Costus barbatus at MuƱeco, Costa Rica


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Photo# 17903 Specimen# R3368
Costus barbatus at MuƱeco, Costa Rica


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Photo# 17904 Specimen# R3368
Costus barbatus at MuƱeco, Costa Rica


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Photo# 17905 Specimen# R3368
Costus barbatus at MuƱeco, Costa Rica - ligules


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Photo# 17906 Specimen# R3369
Costus barbatus at Lankester Gardens, Costa Rica


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Photo# 17907 Specimen# R3369
Costus barbatus at Lankester Gardens, Costa Rica


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Photo# 17908 Specimen# R3369
Costus barbatus at Lankester Gardens, Costa Rica


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Photo# 17909 Specimen# R3369
Costus barbatus at Lankester Gardens, Costa Rica


BOTANICAL NAME: Costus barbatus
SUBGENUS:Costus
GROUP:1 or 2 (can be with or without appendage)
SECTION:II-Ornithophilus
PRIMARY SOURCE USED FOR DESCRIPTION:Maas, Flora Neotropica No. 8, 1972
SECONDARY SOURCES:Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica Vol II, 2003, Missouri Botanical Garden
LAST UPDATED:
NOTES AND DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS:Maas says this species is close to C. pulverulentus and C. montanus. Longer ligule than C. pulverulentus and hairier than C. montanus. Addendum to description in Monograph #18 has better illustration of this species.

The Costus known as C. barbatus in US horticulture has been determined to actually be Costus comosus, probably var. bakeri. For photos of this plant, go to PID#4863. It is a very showy and attractive landscape plant, grown in many botanical gardens and conservatories in the United States. There are several key differences between the description below and the plant that is common in horticulture as Costus barbatus:
1. The ligules are shorter and truncate wheras Maas describes as 15-40 mm (in the key) and lobed
2. The plant in horticulture often flowers both ways - at the base and termial on a leafy stem, not mentioned for this species.
3. The margins of the bracts, bracteoles and calyx are entire, NOT delacerating into fibers
4. The corolla lobes of the plant in horticulture are NOT puberulous, a character of the real Costus barbatus, but rarely found in Costus.
5. None of the plant parts are particularly hairy, as mentioned to distinguish this from Costus montanus.

NOTE that this plant is RARE in the wild and may be nearly extinct. There have been no verified collections of this species since the 1970's, when it was collected in the central valley area of Costa Rica, in what are now the eastern suburbs of San Jose. In 2011, I finally found this species growing on the western slopes of the Volcan Irazu and published an article in the Heliconia Society International quarterly Bulletin, Vol. 17, No. 4, December 2011. It is available on my website at http://www.gingersrus.com/publications/HSI-Dec2011.pdf. I received verification emails from Dr. Paul Maas and from Dr. Chelsea Specht congratulating me on the discovery of this species that was thought to possibly be extinct. My photos are shown to the left, unfortunately the close-up photos were not of the best quality.

The plant was found at 1780 meters on the western flank of the Volcan Irazu south of Rancho Redondo. It was in a small creek bed at the edge of forest along a rocky driveway to a gated private property. There was a large patch at various stages of maturity, but no seeds were found indicating the absence of the pollinator for this species. I am guessing we were either at too high an altitude or the natural pollinator is extinct. This species is obviously very near extinction as I have searched for it in many trips to Costa Rica.

Although not clearly shown in these photos, the characters match very nicely to Costus barbatus and to the exclusion of other described species, as explained in my article in the Heliconia Society International. Much of this is taken from notes I made on site. The ligules were 20-25 mm long and hairy. The petioles were about 8 mm long and hairy. The leaves were glabrescent on the upper sides and densely hairy on the undersides. The bracts were red and reflexed but not with distinct appendages. The bractetole and calyx were puberulous and the margins delacerated into fibers as described for C. barbatus. The corolla lobes were also puberulous, a character not very common in Costus. The stamen slightly exceeded the labellum.
NATURAL DISTRIBUTION:Costa Rica, along rivers and in wet forests. In Costa Rica, restricted to forests between 1300 and 1800 meters.
HEIGHT:1 to 2 meters
Botanical Description for this Species
For illustrations or explanation of terminology, click on the linked plant part or column header.
Descriptions used for plant identification key are shown in BOLD.
Plant PartGeneralColorHairsTextureShape LengthWidth
Rhizome




0 to 0 cm0 to 0 cm
Sheath

sparsely to rather densely puberulous to villose


0 to 0 cm 10 to 17 mm
Ligulelong, 15-40mm

sparsely to rather densely puberulous to villose

lobes rounded to obtuse, unequally 2 lobed
15 to 30 mm 0 to 0 mm
Petiole

densely villose


6 to 12 mm 0 to 0 mm
Leaf



narrowly elliptic
13 to 26 cm 4 to 8 cm
...upper

glabrescent




...under

densely villose at base and costa




...base



cunate to rounded


...apex



shortly acuminate
0 to 0 mm
Inflorescence terminal on a leafy stem.



ovoid to fusiform
4 to 10 cm 2 to 4 cm
Bract all bracts with foliaceous, green appendages, or apices of all bracts reflexed., margins fibers, no callus
red
sparsely to rather densely puberulous
margins delacerating into fibers,coriaceous
broadly ovate, apex acute
3.0 to 4.0 cm 2.0 to 4.0 cm
Appendage
red


reflexed tips
0.2 to 0.5 cm 0.0 to 1.5 cm
Bracteole margins dilacerating into fibers

densely puberulous
margins delacerating into fibers
boat shape
2.2 to 2.5 cm 0.0 to 0.0 cm
Flower




0 to 0 cm 0 to 0 cm
Calyx

densely puberulous
margins delacerating into fibers
lobes shallow triangular
1.3 to 1.5 cm 0.0 to 0.0 cm
Corolla tube 15mm long
yellowish, orange at base
densely puberulous


0.0 to 4.0 cm 0.0 to 0.0 cm
Labellum small, tubular
yellow


trilobulate at apex, middle loge crenulate
0.0 to 2.6 cm 0.0 to 2.4 cm
Stamen slightly longer than labellum
yellow



0.0 to 3.0 cm 0.0 to 1.0 cm

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