Costus guanaiensis var. tarmicus - Gingers R Us
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Catalog : Costaceae : Tender Costaceae :

Costus guanaiensis var. tarmicus

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Costus guanaiensis var. tarmicus In his 1972 monograph on Costus in Flora Neotropica, Paul Maas described 4 varieties of the species Costus guanaiensis (var. guanaiensis, macrostrobilus, tarmicus and asplundii). In his 1977 update, he moved var. asplundii to its own species (C. asplundii) but retained the other three as varieties of Costus guanaiensis. The only difference in the official descriptions is the presence or absense and types of hairs on the leaves. After seeing many hundreds of Costus guanaiensis plants both in cultivation and in nature, I am really confused, as there seems to be no clear distinction in the hairiness of these varieties. At any rate, the variety that is usually listed as var. tarmicus is quite distinct from the others by the raised ligules on the stems, the yellow flowers, and the shape of the foliacious appendages to the bracts. These characters have been consistent in plants I found throughout Ecuador and in botanical gardens in Hawaii.

Okay, enough of the botany.... in cultivation this variety makes for a rather attractive ornamental plant. When not in flower the stems have interest in themselves, and when in flower the plant is quite beautiful. I have only tried growing it in my greenhouse, and I doubt that it would be winter hardy in frost prone ateas. It can grow to be about 8 feet tall under the right conditions, and probably will not bloom unless it is allowed to do so. It seems to prefer a position in part sun with typical moist, but well drained organic soil.


Costus guanaiensis var. tarmicus Costus guanaiensis var. tarmicus

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