Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Costus pulverulentus
Presl, Costaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Costus sanguineus Donn. Sm.

Common name(s): [more details]

Spanish: caña agria, chile de perro, pito de perro

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Leafy shoots 2-7 (-12) feet tall.  Leaf blades narrowly elliptic-obovate, 4-12 inches x 2-4.5 inches, underside sometimes faint purplish, margins ciliate, apex tapering.  Inflorescence terminal on leafy stem, spindle-shaped, 1.75-3.5 inches x 0.5-1.75 inches, lengthening in fruit; bracts pale to bronzy green, exposed margin shredding, fibrous.  Flowers reddish; calyx ca 0.4 inch long; labellum oblong-obovate, inrolled, 1.1-1.5 inches long, 3-lobed; fertile stamens 1.4-2 inches long, red.  Fruit obovoid, ca 0.66 inch long, white.  Seeds black, aril white." Can be distinguished from Costus spiralis by its stamen, which is conspicuously longer than the labellum, and by its bronzy greenish, spindle-shaped (not cylindrical) flower head  (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 652).

"It grows only 3-4 ft. (0.9-1.2 m) tall, with spiral leaves, and terminal inflorescences with light greenish bracts and rose-pink flowers" (Daehler & Baker, 2006; p. 6).

Habitat/ecology:  In Hawai‘i (O‘ahu), "naturalized in many parts of Lyon Arboretum" (Daehler & Baker, 2006; p. 6-7). "Prefers moist, protected areas in light to miderate shade" (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 652).

Propagation:  Bird-spread seed; also reproduces vegetatively (Staples et al, 2000; p. 20; Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 652).

Native range:  Mexico, Central and northern and western South America (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
American Samoa
Tutuila Islands
Tutuila Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1999) (voucher ID: PTBG 293)
Taxon name on voucher: Costus pulverulentus
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Daehler, Curtis C./Baker, Raymond F. (2006) (p. 7)
Voucher cited: C. Haehler 1308 (BISH)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Ecuador (Mainland)
Ecuador
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Honduras
Honduras
Honduras (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Chiapas, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Veracruz
Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Panama
Panama
Panama (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Perú
Perú
Perú (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 2 AUG 2007 and was last updated on 7 AUG 2007.