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Costus erythrophyllus, Ox Blood Costus, Red Wine Costus

Costus erythrophyllus

Ox Blood Costus, Red Wine Costus
Family: Costaceae
USDA Zone: 10-11?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapGroundcover and low-growing 2ft plantSmall plant 2-5 ftSemi-shadeShadeRegular waterOrnamental foliageUnusual colorPink flowers

Costus erythrophyllus grows up to 1-2 feet when fully mature. Also known as Ox Blood Costus because of its striking foliage. When the wind shifts and you see the bright red underside that gives it its name. The flowers are relatively large, pale pink and grow prettily cradled in the midst of the leaves. All in all, this unusual looking plant really is a looker which will brighten any border. The attractive Costus will be a welcome addition to any garden, hothouse or windowsill. It is easy to grow providing light shade under a tree canopy. It is an attractive plant that gets a lot of attention form visitors. The wide velvety leaves are luxuriously red on the under side and richly blue green on top. You will be am amazed at its beauty.

As a group, Costus are known as Spiral Gingers because their leaves tend to grow in an outwards spiral away from the main stem. Native to subtropical environments, all members of the Costus family like to be kept warm and moist.

Close related plant, but with yellow flowers - Costus vinosus, that is often confused with Costus erythrophyllus. Costus vinosus is very rare. It was described by Paul Maas in 1976 from a single collection in 1973. It is a very distinctive species with waxy leaves that have deep wine-red undersides and unique cup-shaped ligules making it very easy to recognize whether in flower or not. This species is threatened and rare in the wild and is sensitive to habitat change. Since the last collection record was ten years ago, it is possible that this species is extinct in the wild or very nearly so.

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