Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Costus scaber
Ruiz & Pav., Costaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Rather stout plants 1-2 m. tall, the stem somewhat spiral, usually disproportionally thick; leaves oblong-oblanceolate, rather abruptly acuminate, broadly cuneate toward the base, very shortly petiolate, 15-30 cm. long, 5-8 cm. broad, generally puberulent beneath, particularly the midrib, essentially glabrous above; inflorescence broadly ovoid, set amongst the reduced upper leaves, 3-8 cm. long; bracts ovate, rather narrowly acute, 2.5-4.0 cm. long, orange to scarlet, without a callus, essentially glabrous; calyx about 1 cm. long, broadly 3-dentate, red; ovary 0.4 cm. long; corolla about 3 cm. long, the labellum and stamen about equaling, bright yellow"  (Flora of Panama online).

"In Hawai‘i, Costus scaber has been confused with Costus spiralis, which has leaves that are glabrous on the upper surface, dark red bracts, and a pinkish red corolla and labellum"  (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 653).

Habitat/ecology:  In its native habitat, "mountain and foothill thickets and open forest"  (Flora of Panama online).  In Hawaii, "it can form dense thickets locally"  (Daehler & Baker, 2006; p. 14).

Propagation:  Seed.  In Hawaii, "This species seems to reproduce mostly by vegetative plantelets arising from old inflorescences.  Although seeds are produced, seedlings are fairly rare thus far"  (Daehler & Baker, 2006; p. 14).

Native range:  Mexico, Central and South America; also cultivated (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex (2012) (pp. 33-34)
Voucher cited: OED 2010033102 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Daehler, Curtis C./Baker, Raymond F. (2006) (p. 14)
Voucher cited: K. Nagata 2743 (HLA)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Lau, Alex/Frohlich, Danielle (2013) (p. 6)
Voucher cited: OED 2012062802 (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, Puebla, 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)


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This page was created on 11 JUL 2013 and was last updated on 8 AUG 2013.