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Costus Species Botanical Description Botanical Description page for GingersRus plant database number " 3075 ".
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Costus pictus

Costus pictus D.Don

Accession # R1818 identified as Costus pictus 'Hieroglyphics' from Le Jardin Ombragé
Accession # R2888 identified as Costus pictus red stemmed form from Le Jardin Ombragé
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Photo# 16002 Specimen# R3172
Costus pictus
From USA, Puerto Rico

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Photo# 16003 Specimen# R3172
Costus pictus
From USA, Puerto Rico

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Photo# 16004 Specimen# R3172
Costus pictus
From USA, Puerto Rico

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Photo# 16005 Specimen# R3172
Costus pictus
From USA, Puerto Rico

BOTANICAL NAME: Costus pictus
GROUP:2-bracts not appendaged
PRIMARY SOURCE USED FOR DESCRIPTION:Maas, Flora Neotropica No. 8, 1972
NOTES AND DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS:Maas says Costus pictus can be recognized by its reddish yellow flowers, green infl., callus absent, and short ligule. Placed between C. laevis and C. malortienaus, differs from C. laevis by shorter ligule, shorter petiole, smaller leaves, and smaller flowers. Differs from C. malortienus by leaf shape and indument.

Some of the photos to the left are from the form of this species that is most common in the US horticultural trade. It is characterized by narrow leaves with undulating margins. It will also produce basal inflorescence in the spring and terminal in the summer and fall. It seems to be one of the most cold hardy and vigorous of all Costus species.

I also have received a specimen I believe to be Costus pictus with broader leaves and reddish (instead of the common patterned) stems.
NATURAL DISTRIBUTION:Common from Mexico to Costa Rica in rain forests, clearings, and hill forests along watercourses and roads down to sea level, but mainly 300-1800 meters.
HEIGHT:1 to 4 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

0 to 0 cm0 to 0 cm
purplish or green
glabrous, rarely strigose

0 to 0 cm 0 to 15 mm
Liguleshort, 2-4 mm

glabrous, rarely strigose

2 to 4 mm 0 to 0 mm


0 to 8 mm 0 to 0 mm
Leaf Acumin has filiform point 2-3 mm

narrowly elliptic
10 to 25 cm 2 to 6 cm

glabrous to sparsely strigose


glabrous to densely puberulous


cunate, rounded or slightly cordate


0 to 15 mm
Inflorescence terminal on a leafy stem.

globose to ovoid
3 to 8 cm 3 to 4 cm
Bract margins entire,
green, reddish in covered part
glabrous, rarely pubulerous
thick, coriaceous
broadly ovate, obtuse
2.0 to 4.0 cm 2.0 to 4.0 cm
Appendage none

glabrous to puberulous

0.0 to 0.0 cm 0.0 to 0.0 cm

glabrous to puberulous

lobes deltate to shallowly triangular
1.6 to 2.1 cm 0.0 to 0.0 cm

0 to 0 cm 0 to 0 cm
Calyx 4-10 mm long, lobes 2-3.5 mm long

glabrous to puberulous

0.6 to 0.9 cm 0.0 to 0.0 cm
Corolla ca 65 mm long
yellow to red

lobesnarrowly obovate
0.0 to 6.5 cm 0.0 to 0.0 cm
Labellum lobes irregularly trilobulate, mid lobule tridentate
yellow, red striped

obovate spread, margin crenulate, mid lobe reflex
0.0 to 6.0 cm 0.0 to 5.0 cm
Stamen anther 7-8 mm long
yellow, apex dark red

narrowly elliptic
4.0 to 4.5 cm 0.9 to 1.5 cm

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