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TROPICAL PLANT CATALOG Printer friendly page  

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Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag
 Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata
Family: Costaceae / Zingiberaceae
Spiked Spiralflag
Origin: Tropical America
large shrub 5-10 ftsemi-shaderegular waterornamental foliagered/crimson/vinous flowersedibleattracts butterflies, hummingbirdsincuded in CD catalog

Costus are easily distinguished from other commonly cultivated gingers because the leaves spiral around the main stem like a circular stairway. In fact they are called "spiral gingers". Sometimes Costus are still listed with other gingers in family Zingiberaceae, but generally they are accepted classified in a separate plant family, Costaceae, along with Dimerocostus, Monocostus and Tapeinochilos. Costus spicatus will grow in the sun if kept moist. Grows to about 6 to 7 feet tall. Leaves are about a foot long and about 4 inches wide. Plant produces a short cylindrical red cone with red-orange flowers emerging one at a time, long lasting and used as a cut flower. These plants often have close interactions with ants. The plant makes a sugary nectar which is attractive to many different kinds of ants. Ants protect the developing seeds which are under the bracts from insect enemies. Some plants have very specialized ants: they form an alliance only with one ant species, that not only get food from the plant but also get a place to nest.


 
Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag

Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag
Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag
Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag
Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag
Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag
Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag
Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag
Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag
Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag
Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag
Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag


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