Dave Looks for Plants

Journal of a plant explorer

Posts Tagged ‘Costus curvibracteatus’

The plants at Pocosol

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Pocosol is on the eastern (Atlantic) side of the Tilarán Mountains – opposite from the well known tourist area of Montverde.  At about 800 meters, it is just north of the Rio Peñas Blancas.  There are several trails around the research station there, but not particularly well maintained and the place is seldom visited except by a few researchers.

Four different Costus were seen there, including one that has me a bit mystified.  It was very tall with non-appendaged bracts and open flowers looking somewhat like Costus glaucus except that the young shoots and the bracts did not have the characteristic powdery white covering.  It is similar to a plant I saw in 2013 in the gardens at the University of Georgia research station at San Luis near Monteverde, and along the upper Rio Peñas Blancas.  This plant will probably be distributed under the name Costus ‘Red Baron’.


I also saw lots of Costus malortieanus which I had not seen in habitat before then.


The most interesting plant seen was similar to Costus curvibracteatus except much shorter and compact with nearly pure red bracts and much larger yellow flowers.  I have registered a cultivar name for it, not very original, Costus aff. curvibracteatus ‘Pocosol’.

Costus_aff_curvibracteatus-R3032-PocoSol-31r Costus_aff_curvibracteatus-R3032-PocoSol-29r


My second adventure concludes

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

The next day I took the express bus back from Quepos to San Jose and thus ended my second adventure in Costa Rica.  I had searched for Costus barbatus and although I had not found it I had checked out several potential locations and I had seen several other Costus that I had not seen before that trip in flower and in the wild.  My plant list for this trip is not quite as long as the first trip to the Osa, but a good list none the less.

Click on the links to go to the plant datasheets on these plants and see more photos and information on the Gingers R Us website.


Rio Purisil

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

The next day I wanted to go to the Parque Purisil which was about 8 km up the valley.  I had seen a little shop in Orosi that had bicycle rentals so I made that my mode of transport that day. 

I cycled up to Parque Purisil but could get no ones attention, so I just continued up the road a ways and then hid the bike back behind some bushes and headed back into the forest.  There I saw lots of Costus curvibracteatus at all stages of maturity and got some very nice photos.


Parque Nacional Tapantí

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

The next morning I went to the Tapantí National Park to begin my search in earnest for Costus barbatus.  One of the INBio records indicated a collection along the trail Arboles Caidos, so that is where I headed first.


Along that trail I saw lots of Costus curvibracteatus, but nothing I could identify as C. barbatus.  It is certainly possible that I missed it, but I think it is more likely that someone incorrectly identified the former. The two species are superficially similar in appearance and C. curvibracteautus was not even described and named until 1976, so would not have been readily available in the literature.

Nonetheless, it was exciting for me to find this species because I had never seen it before even in cultivation – much less in the wild.  And there is further confusion that was created by yet another error in identification of the cultivated species that are popular in the gardens of the USA.  The species you will usually see in botanical gardens under the name Costus curvibracteatus is actually a Peruvian species – Costus productus.  It has been my mission to try to get these incorrect identifications corrected wherever possible.

 Other species I saw at Tapantí included C. pulverulentus and another plant that I am unsure of the identification, could be C. guanaiensis or possibly C. allenii or maybe something altogether new.


I did take some video of the trails, the river, and waterfall at Tapantí, in case anyone wants to catch the general “flavor” of the park.