Dave Looks for Plants

Journal of a plant explorer

Archive for July, 2011

Costa Rica 2011

Monday, July 11th, 2011

This was the trip in which I FINALLY found the species Costus barbatus in the wild, but first I went back to the Osa Peninsula and stayed at El Romansco resort at the southern tip, Cabo Matapalo. It is a beautiful and comfortable eco-lodge with many trails and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean from the bluffs above. I had been there once before with Reinaldo Aquilar for a short visit to see the Costus comosus maritimus form that grows along the bluffs.

From there I went back to the Durika reserve where I found the Costus wilsonii in full flower.

Finally, back in San Jose, I made a concerted effort to find the species Costus barbatus that I had searched for in so many trips to Costa Rica. The type locality for the species was along along the Rio Torres in what is now an urbanized area east of the city center. So I searched for any small forest patches visible on Google Earth and hired a 4 X 4 with driver Steve, to search for the species. Steve and I systematically worked our way to every patch of forest we could find, but most of them were reclaimed coffee fields or simply pasture land with a few trees still standing. After several hours we had not seen a single Costus of any species. Then as we were heading up a rocky road at about 1800 meters, below Rancho Redondo, I saw a narrow driveway leading back to the edge of a patch of forest on the right and told Steve to turn there. At the end of the drive was a gate to some private property but there was a creek nearby, so I got out of the car and looked down into the creek bed and there it was. At last I had found the true Costus barbatus. I have written up the whole story and it is published in the Heliconia Society Bulletin, December 2011 edition, beginning on page 11.