Costus spectabilis (Fenzl) K. Schum.

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Costus spectabilis

Woodland; cultivated Lilayi
The vertical rhizome can reach over 30cm in length and 2.5cm wide but are brittle and easily broken
Apr 2012
Photo: Nick Wightman

Costus spectabilis

Woodland; cultivated Lilayi
Developing rhizomes adapt to obstacles during growth and can become misshapen
May 2015
Photo: Nick Wightman

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Common names:
Status: Native
Low perennial herb. Leaves 4, somewhat fleshy, flat against the ground in a basal rosette, broadly obovate-spathulate, up to c. 12 × 12 cm, hairless above, pubescent below, particularly on the midrib; margin entire, often edged purple-pink. Inflorescence terminal, arising from the centre of the rosette. Flowers showy, yellow, opening one at the time.
Type location:
Derivation of specific name: spectabilis: noteworthy, spectacular
Altitude range:
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Widespread from Sierra Leone to Sudan and South to Angola and Zimbabwe
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): N,W,C,E,S
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Nw,Cb
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Tuesday 23 February 2016

Baumann, G. (2005). Photographic Guide to Wildflowers of Malawi Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi Pages 238 - 239. (Includes a picture).

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 122.

Lock, J.M. & Diniz, M.A. (2010). Costaceae Flora Zambesiaca 13(4) Pages 115 - 117. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 112.

Moriarty, A. (1975). Wild Flowers of Malawi Purnell & sons Cape Town. Pages 35 - 36. (Includes a picture).

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 108.

Other sources of information about Costus spectabilis:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Costus spectabilis
Flora of Mozambique: Costus spectabilis
Flora of Zimbabwe: Costus spectabilis

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Costus spectabilis
African Plant Database: Costus spectabilis
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Costus spectabilis
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Costus spectabilis
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Costus spectabilis
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Costus spectabilis
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Costus spectabilis
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Costus spectabilis
iNaturalist: Costus spectabilis
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Costus spectabilis
JSTOR Plant Science: Costus spectabilis
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Costus spectabilis
Kew Monocotyledon checklist: Costus spectabilis
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Costus spectabilis
Plants of the World Online: Costus spectabilis
Tropicos: Costus spectabilis
Wikipedia: Costus spectabilis

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-21

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2021). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Costus spectabilis., retrieved 14 May 2021

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