Costus spicatus/cylindricus - Gingers R Us
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Catalog : Costaceae : Tender Costaceae :

Costus spicatus/cylindricus

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Costus cylindricus (true spicatus) Do a Google search for photos of Costus spicatus and you will find lots of web pages with photos, but they are all photos of Costus scaber. The true Costus spicatus is very similar, but the bracts are more greenish and there are subtle differences in the flower parts, such as the length of the calyx and bracteole. Also, the true Costus spicatus has a very limited range, native only to the Carribean islands of Hispanola.

A few years ago I acquired a plant tagged as Costus cylindricus, that was collected in Hispanola. Paul Maas, who wrote the monograph on Costus in the 1970's, listed the species name "Costus cylindricus" as an obsolete synonym for Costus spicatus. The plant finally bloomed in my greenhouse and I am now convinced that this is the true species Costus spicatus.

The flowers of this plant are larger in proportion to the bracts and the labellum is a soft yellow color. Otherwise the plant is pretty non-descript, with typical Costus green stems and leaves. I have not yet tested this plant for hardiness and frankly have no idea whether it will turn out to be hardy like its namesake Costus scaber-spicatus, but the plant is a fairly vigorous grower, and a bit taller (6-7 feet) than Costus scaber. It seems to prefer a fairly sunny location in my greenhouse but has not been tested outdoors yet.


Costus cylindricus (true spicatus)

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