Costus macranthus 

This taxon is accepted by WCS higher taxonomy

General Description

Perennial herb. Rhizome 4-7 mm. in diameter when dry; scales brown, scarious, appressed pilose on the lower half. Leafy stem borne laterally on the rhizome, erect, bearing a few reduced leaves and (3-)4 imbricate, cruciately-arranged normal leaves which lie flat on the ground. Lamina of normal leaves obovate, 8-19 × 8.5-16.5 cm., apex obtuse, with a broad cuneate base, glabrous above, appressed pubescent beneath, green with a pink margin. Inflorescence developing with the leaves or just before them, but flowering continued until leaves are almost fully developed, terminal in the centre of the leaf-rosette, 6-10-flowered, usually with only 1 flower open at a time; floral bracts delicate, elliptic, acute, ± 1.7 × 0.5 cm. Calyx spathaceous, delicate, 4.5-5 cm. long, glabrous. Corolla-tube 7-9 cm. long; petals narrowly elliptic, acuminate, 6-8 cm. long, pubescent near the apex, yellow; labellum large, delicate, yellow, 8-11 cm. long. Fertile stamen ligulate, petaloid, narrowed above the anthers; anthers 9-13 mm. long. Fruit subterranean, otherwise unknown. Seeds unknown.


HAB. Deciduous woodland and wooded grassland, often on rocky hillsides; 250-1700 m.


Tanzania Sao Hill, Ipogoro–M’kawa track, 12 Dec. 1961, Richards 15572!

Tanzania 16 km. on Chimala–Igawa road, 7 Dec. 1962, Richards 17330!

Tanzania Mpanda–Sumbawanga road, 10 Nov. 1959, Richards 11773!


in E.J. 30: 279, t. 7-8 (1901) & in E.P. IV. 46: 421 (1904); Lock in K.B. 39: 841, map 1 (1984).

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Africa East Tropical Africa Tanzania
  • South Tropical Africa Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe


  • 1 Timberlake, J.R. & Martins, E.S. (eds.) (2010). Flora Zambesiaca 13(4): 1-151. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 2 Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. Continental Publishing, Deurne.

 Information From

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East 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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