Okay Costus fans, this one really has me mystified. I first collected this species in 2007 at a small private botanical reserve owned by a very eccentric young man the locals call "El Gato" because of his green eyes, unusual for the indo-hispanic residents of the area. It's a long story, but if you are interested and if you can read Spanish find my story of about this plant exploration trip on my website at http://www.gingersrus.com/espanol/HuidaDesdeGualaquiza. .
Okay, back to the plant. I found a plant as shown below at "El Gato's" place and also at a Salesian Mission at the nearby village of Bomboiza. I think the closest match is the species Costus amazonicus, but Dr. Paul Maas has reviewed the photos and said it is not C. amazonicus. I thought it might be just a one-time occurance, perhaps a hybrid, until January 2013 when I found identical plants growing 1000 miles to the south in southern Peru!
So…. I am not really sure, but it may be a new and undescribed species, and for now I am calling it Costus 'El Gato'. It is is a real beauty, with an arching form and pendent inflorescence, large white flowers with variable amount of red or pink markings on the labellum. The bracts are dark red making a nice contrast.
Shown here is the variation in flower colors I have seen on this plant both in Ecuador and in Peru as well as in my own seed-grown plants.