Costus lucanusianus 

This taxon is accepted by WCS higher taxonomy

General Description

Perennial herb with erect leafy stems 1.5-3 m. tall. Leaves elliptic, 21-24 × 4.5-6 cm., apex acuminate, narrowed below to the rounded or subcordate base, appressed pubescent beneath, otherwise glabrous; petiole 5-9 mm. long; ligule coriaceous, 1.5-3 mm. long, with a raised coriaceous ridge, with a ciliate margin, surrounding the stem at the ligule-base; sheaths smooth, glabrous, slightly striate when dry, green, often with dark red markings when alive. Inflorescences (?always) terminal on the leafy shoots; floral bracts oblong, rounded at the apex, ± 2.5 × 1 cm., green, with basal purple markings, each subtending 2 fully developed flowers; bracteoles boat-shaped, keeled, coriaceous, pale green, the larger to 2 × 1 cm., the smaller narrower, to 2 × 0.6 cm. Calyx tubular, green, exceeding the bracts, 2.2-3 cm. long, with 3 acute often recurved teeth 5-6 mm. long with narrow scarious pubescent margins. Corolla-tube ± 2 cm. long, hairy inside; petals white, semi-transparent, oblong, 2.5-2.6 cm. long, acute and hooded at the apex, narrowing to the base; labellum broadly triangular, funnel-shaped, ± 3 cm. long and wide, dark red towards the margin, with a central yellow streak which does not extend into the tube. Stamen narrowly triangular, tinged red at the tip, ± 2.5 × 1 cm.; anthers 8-10 mm. long. Mature fruits and seeds not seen. Fig. 1/1,2, p. 5.

Leafy stem 6–7 ft. long. Leaves shortly petioled, oblong, 8–10 in. long, 2–3 in. broad, gradually acuminate, subcordate at the base, minutely pubescent above, clothed with grey silky hairs beneath; ligule with spreading hairs. Spike terminal, globose or oblong, 3–4 in. diam.; bracts densely imbricate, nearly 1 in. long. Calyx much exserted, cut one-third down, glabrous, ciliate. Corolla-lobes lanceolate, 1 in. or more long. Lip obovate, undulate on the upper margin, 2 in. long; process of fertile stamen lanceolate, acuminate, shorter than the lip.

A tall herb, stems 6-10 ft. high with leaves spirally arranged and a terminal inflorescence; flowers with a red lobe; in forest.


HAB. Seasonally or permanently wet areas in forest; 1100-1200 m.

; in forest.


Iv. C.: Haut Sassandra (May) Chev. 21516! Adiopodoumé (Nov.) Roberty 15406! Bingerville Chev. 17280! Prolo to Bliéron Chev. 19883!

S. L.: Alikalia, N. Prov. (Apr.) Glanville 197!

Cameroons in forest near Batanga, Braun!

Guin.: Conakry (June) Debeaux! Beyla (Mar.) Chev. 20866!

F. Po: (June) Mann 439!

Uganda Lwankima Forest near Najembe, 6 Mar. 1950, Dawkins 537! & Entebbe, 8 Oct. 1905, Bagshawe 777! & Nov. 1949, Gedye in Bally 7655!

Lib.: Gbanga (Sept.) Linder 390! Belefanai, Gbanga (Dec.) Baldwin 10554! Ganta (Oct.) Harley!

S. Nig.: Benin Dennett 17! Sapoba (Oct.) Kennedy 1750! Onyeachusim & Emwiogbon FHI 43220! Oban Talbot 840! Aboh T. Vogel! Port Harcourt (Sept.) Stubbings 40!

W. Cam.: Buea, 3, 000 ft. (Nov.) Migeod 105!

Congo Laurent!

Uganda Budongo Forest, 27 May 1971, Synnott 604!


in Mitteil. Deut. Schutzgeb. 2: 151 (1889); F.T.A. 7: 299; Schlechter, Kautschuk-Exp. 64, with fig. (1901); K. Schum. l.c. 392, incl. var. major K. Schum. (1904); Koechlin in Fl. Gabon 9: 83, t. 19.

in Mitth. Deutsch. Schutzgeb. ii. (1889) 151.

in Mitt. Deutsch. Schutzgeb. 2: 151 (1889); K. Schum. in Gartenflora 41: 481-484, t. 1379 (1892) & in E.P. IV. 46: 392 (1904); J. Koechlin in Fl. Gabon 9: 83 (1964) & Fl. Cameroun 4: 90 (1965); F.W.T.A., ed. 2, 3: 78 (1968).

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
  • Introduced distribution
Found in
  • Africa East Tropical Africa Uganda
  • Northeast Tropical Africa Chad
  • West Tropical Africa Burkina
  • Guinea
  • Ivory Coast
  • Liberia
  • Nigeria
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo
  • West-Central Tropical Africa Burundi
  • Cabinda
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Congo
  • Gabon
  • Gulf of Guinea Is.
  • Zaire
Introduced into
  • Asia-Tropical Malesia Malaya
  • Southern America Caribbean Windward Is.


  • 1 Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
  • 2 Lejoy, J., Ndjele, M.-B. & Geerinck, D. (2010). Catalogue-flore des plantes vasculaires des districts de Kisangani et de la Tshopo (RD Congo). Taxonomania. Revue de Taxonomie et de Nomenclature Botaniques 30: 1-307.
  • 3 Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola. Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • 4 Sosef, M.S.M. & al. (2006). Check-list des plantes vasculaires du Gabon. Scripta Botanica Belgica 35: 1-438.
  • 5 Sita, P. & Moutsambote, J.-M. (2005). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Congo , ed. sept. 2005: 1-158. ORSTOM, Centre de Brazzaville.
  • 6 Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. Continental Publishing, Deurne.
  • 7 Brunel, J.F., Hiepo, P. & Scholz, H. (eds.) (1984). Flore Analytique du Togo Phanérogames: 1-751. GTZ, Eschborn.
  • 8 F.n. Hepper (1968) Zingiberaceae. Flora of West Tropical Africa 3 (1)

 Information From

Flora of West Tropical Africa
Flora of West Tropical Africa. Published on the Internet;
Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa. Published on the Internet;
Flora of Tropical Africa
Flora of Tropical Africa. Published on the Internet;
WCS higher taxonomy
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World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
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