Costaceae

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Costus Family

Costus barabatus Suess., an understory herb in the Costaceae. The spiraling stalk is approximately 1.5m tall, with a terminal inflorescence (at right). Note the spiral arrangement of the leaves and the acute angle between veins and the midrib (leaf detail, ½ x). Una hierba del sotobosque. El tallo espiral tiene aproximadamente 1.5m de altura, con una inflorescencia terminal (a la derecha). Note la organización en espiral de las hojas y el ángulo agudo entre las venas y el eje central (detalle de la hoja, ½ x).

Description: Instantly recognizable from its growth habit. The simple, alternate leaves are borne in a spiral, and often the main stem spirals as well. The inflorescence is almost always borne at the end of the stalk, unlike in Zingiberaceae.

Economic uses: Occasionally grown as an ornamental.


Descripción: Se reconoce esta familia fácilmente por su forma de crecimiento. Las hojas simples y alternas siempre crecen en forma de espiral, y muchas veces el tallo también tiene forma espiralada. La inflorescencia casi siempre aparece al extremo del tallo, a diferencia de las Zingiberaceas.

Usos económicos: A veces se cultiva para ornamental.

Genera/species at La Selva: 1/8. Costus


FIELD MARKS – leaves arranged around stem in spiral staircase pattern.

Cheilocostus speciosus is native to Asia and widely cultivated in Costa Rica.
Cheilocostus speciosus is native to Asia and widely cultivated in Costa Rica.
Costus lima showing spiral arrangement of leaves and typical inflorescence.
Costus lima showing spiral arrangement of leaves and typical inflorescence.
Costus malortiaenus in flower in the Holdridge Arboretum.


< < Previous family: Convolvulaceae
Next family: Cucurbitaceae > >
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