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Costus Species Botanical Description Botanical Description page for GingersRus plant database number " 4035 ".
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Costus comosus

Costus comosus (Jacq.) Roscoe



Accession # R2830 identified as Costus aff. comosus X osae 'Firebird' from Le Jardin Ombragé
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Photo# 15795 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


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Photo# 15796 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


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Photo# 15797 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


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Photo# 15798 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


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Photo# 15799 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


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Photo# 15800 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


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Photo# 15801 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


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Photo# 15802 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


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Photo# 15803 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


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Photo# 15804 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


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Photo# 15805 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


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Photo# 15806 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


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Photo# 15807 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


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Photo# 15808 Specimen# R3308
Costus comosus from Santa Maria de Boyacá, Colombia


BOTANICAL NAME: Costus comosus
SUBGENUS:Costus
GROUP:1-bracts with 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:The Costus known as C. barbatus in US horticulture has been determined to actually be Costus comosus. It is a very showy and attractive landscape plant, grown in many botanical gardens and conservatories in the United States.

Maas describes two varieties of C. comosus. Variety comosus, the upper side of leaves are densely puberulo-villose and the bracts are never scabrid to the touch. Variety bakeri, the upper side of leaves are glabrous to sparsely strigose, and the bracts are somewhat scabrid to the touch. I believe the plant known in horticulture as Costus barbatus is actually Costus comosus var. bakeri which is listed under PID#4863.

The photos on this page are of another plant that was identified by Tom Wood as Costus comosus and its characters generally match this botanical description for Costus comosus var. comosus.

The Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica mentions under Costus comosus an aberrant plant from the Isle de Caño which I have listed separately under PID#7376.
NATURAL DISTRIBUTION:Central America and Venezuela in moist forests on wooded slopes of volcanos, sea level to 2000 m.
HEIGHT:0 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

densely puberulous, villose to velutinous or glabr


0 to 0 cm 5 to 12 mm
Ligulevery short, 1-6 mm

hairy like sheaths

truncate
1 to 6 mm 0 to 0 mm
Petiole

densely puberulo-sericeous


2 to 10 mm 0 to 0 mm
Leaf



narrowly elliptic to narrowly obovate
10 to 26 cm 2 to 6 cm
...upper

variable
not scabrid to touch



...under

variable




...base



cunate to rounded


...apex



acuminate
10 to 30 mm
Inflorescence terminal on a leafy stem.



ovoid to cylindric
6 to 10 cm 4 to 5 cm
Bract all bracts with foliaceous, reddish appendages, or apices of all bracts reflexed.
reddish green to green
densely minutely puberulous
coriaceous
broadly ovate
2.0 to 3.0 cm 2.0 to 3.0 cm
Appendage 15-20 mm long, lower ones to 80 mm long and 20 mm wide
red, lower tinged with green
variable
foliaceous
triangular-acute, spreading or ascending
1.5 to 4.0 cm 0.5 to 1.5 cm
Bracteole
reddish
densely minutely puberulous

boat shape
1.4 to 2.0 cm 0.0 to 0.0 cm
Flower




0 to 0 cm 0 to 0 cm
Calyx
reddish
densely minutely puberulous

lobes deltate
0.9 to 1.2 cm 0.0 to 0.0 cm
Corolla tube 10 mm long
yellow, sometimes tinged with orange-red at apex
denselypuberulou

lobes narrowly obovate
3.0 to 3.5 cm 0.0 to 0.0 cm
Labellum lateral lobes rolled inward forming small, tubular, margins 5-dentate, teeth reflexed
yellow, often reddish at apex


oblong, obovate when spread
2.0 to 2.5 cm 0.8 to 1.2 cm
Stamen apex obtuse or rounded, anther 5-6 mm long



narrowly elliptic
1.8 to 2.3 cm 0.2 to 0.8 cm

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