Costus asplundii - first photo of flowers

Tallahassee, FL

I have seen this Costus growing in conservatories in Atlanta, the Smithsonian Institution, Fairchild Gardens, Tom Wood's greenhouse, at Enid's Natural Selections Exotics, John Banta's place, and in my own greenhouse, but I had never seen it in flower or even seen photos of it in flower. Last week Ray Baker and I were checking id's on his Costaceae at Lyon Arboretum in Hawaii, and look at what we found. He said in all the years it has been there at Lyon he had not seen it in flower. It is really spectacular, but a bit difficult to grow and evidently very shy to come to flower at least in cultivation. Fortunately it is a beatiful plant even without the flowers, but look at this!

Dave Skinner
More photos at

Costus asplundii at Lyon Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii

Thumbnail by gingersrus
Viera, FL(Zone 9b)

How kewl that you were able to finally get a photo, thanks :) The inflorescence is even pretty.

Jacksonville, AR(Zone 7b)

Dave, The flower is drop dead gorgeous. Never seen anything like it.


Knoxville, TN(Zone 7a)

Wow, that bloom is beautiful!

Lowndesboro, AL(Zone 8a)

Dave it sounds like you were in the right place at the right time. How absolutely beautiful!

Northern California, CA(Zone 9b)

Just gorgeous. You must have been so thrilled to see it in person.

Mc Call Creek, MS

WOW! That one was worth waiting for! 'Looks like a red rose at the base of the petals. Is that red part the calyx?


Tallahassee, FL

No, those are the appendages to the bracts that form the rossette. The calyx is quite small on most Costus species. Photo at

One of the major ways that Costus species are differentiated is whether or not they produce "leafy" appendages to the bracts. Costus comosus and Costus productus also produce red bracts with red appendages, but quite different in shape and quite different in texture. The flowers are also different - tubular vs. open and spreading. That is another major characterisic to distinguish Costus species. The tubular flowers are pollinated mostly by hummingbirds wheras the open type is pollinated by bees.

The photo below shows the red bracts with red appendages more clearly.

Dave Skinner

Thumbnail by gingersrus
Mc Call Creek, MS

Those look like somebody sewed a red ruffle on them! Neat!


Coushatta, LA

That is a beautiful flower.

el arish, FNQ, Australia

Dave, We find it quite easy to grow and flower here but it likes lots of moisture and high humidity ( we get close to 4m of rain a year). It's one of my favorites! Ann

Chickenville, FL(Zone 9a)

Really an amazingly beautiful flower. I'm glad you were able to share it with us.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or register to post.

Upload Images to your reply

    You may upload up to 5 images