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Costus barbatus

Costus barbatus Suess.

 

Red Velvet Ginger, Spiral Ginger

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassZingiberidaeGingers and related plants
OrderZingiberalesginger, cardamom, turmeric, galangal, myoga, bananas, arrowroot, and others
FamilyCostaceaePlants found throughout the tropics, with 5 fused staminodes (vs. 2) and no aromatic oils
GenusCostusGinger-like plants with spiraling stems
Speciesbarbatus

About plant names...

These central American plants are not native to North America. They are members of the ginger family. There are many cultivated varieties.

Identification: Plants are up to 9' (2.7 m) tall. Stems are spiral-shaped. Leaves are oval, with pointed tips, dark green and glossy above, fuzzy beneath. about 4-20" (10-50 cm) long. Flowers consist of a brilliant red egg-shaped set of bracts (modified leaves), with bright yellow tubular flowers poking out. The red flowerheads are 7-13" (17-33 cm) tall. They flower from April to November.

Edibility: Yellow flowerheads are edible and lemony-tasting. The red portion is not though—it is composed of specialized leaves.

Online References:

Costus barbatus at FossilFlowers.org

Costus barbatus on UniProt

Costus barbatus at the University of Connecticut Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Plant Growth Facilities

Costus barbatus at My Nice Flowers

Costus barbatus on Horticopia

Costus barbatus (Red Velvet Ginger, Spiral Ginger)

4/10/2015 · Naples Botanical Garden, Naples, FL
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 21 cm)

Costus barbatus (Red Velvet Ginger, Spiral Ginger)

8/31/2013 · Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA
≈ 7 × 10" (18 × 24 cm)

Costus barbatus (Red Velvet Ginger, Spiral Ginger)

4/10/2015 · Naples Botanical Garden, Naples, FL
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 21 cm)

Costus barbatus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 20 Apr 2015.

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Costus barbatus (Red Velvet Ginger, Spiral Ginger)

4/6/2011 · Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens, Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD
≈ 5 × 5" (13 × 13 cm)

Costus barbatus (Red Velvet Ginger, Spiral Ginger)

4/10/2015 · Naples Botanical Garden, Naples, FL
≈ 15 × 10" (37 × 25 cm)

Costus barbatus (Red Velvet Ginger, Spiral Ginger)

4/6/2011 · Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens, Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD
≈ 4 × 4½" (10 × 11 cm)

Costus barbatus (Red Velvet Ginger, Spiral Ginger)

4/6/2011 · Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens, Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD
≈ 7 × 11" (18 × 27 cm)

Range: Zones 9-10:

About this map...