The plant found in cultivation in US horticulture under the name "Costus barbatus" is NOT really Costus barbatus - it is the species Costus comosus var. bakeri. In Australia they have it correctly named. When I learned of this, I started searching for the real Costus barbatus. This species is endemic to the Central Valley area of Costa Rica in what is now the eastern suburbs of San Jose. The problem, this entire area is shopping centers and houses and urban sprawl.
False Costus barbatus
So in 2011 after following many dead end leads and after 6 trips to Costa Rica I made a last ditch effore to find this plant. I used Google Earth to search for remaining small plots of forest where the plant might be found. The short story is that I finally found it. My article about this is published in the Heliconia Society International quarterly Bulletin of December 2011.
I finally have propagated enough of this plant to be able to distribute it to others. Hardiness is untested but it seems to be a very vigorous plant and easy to grow. The location where it was found was along a small creek in a shady area so I expect it will grow best in similar conditions.