Aroids and other genera in the Collection      Take the Tour Now?     Orchids

The Exotic Rainforest
Plants in the Exotic Rainforest Collection

Costus spiralis (Jacq.) Roscoe


Costus spiralis (Jacq.) Roscoe
Scarlet Spiral Flag Ginger

Not one of the most beautiful gingers on earth, but still a very interesting plant with a colorful infloresence, this plant blooms sporadically throughout the summer.  Our Costus spiralis specimen once grew in the destroyed Orchid Jungle Park south of Miami, FL.  A grounds keeper gave it to us after the park was closed due to its devastation and desctruction by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  Growing to about 9 feet, the plant is a native of tropical South America as far south as Brazil.  It is found in very wet rain forests and even some savanna regions.  C. spiralis grows from sea level up to about 1000 feet.  The infloresence can reach just over 6 inches and it's bracts turn a dark red or orange when mature.  The plant's infloresence is often used in Brazilian folk medicine by tribal medicine men.  Now we don't recommend you try this, but it is currently undergoing tests in Brazil as an aid to reduce or cause the voluntary removal of urinary stones.  At least, it is being tried on rats so far!  As the inflorescence matures (the one in our photo is not yet mature) it has red or orange bracts with small flowers and a white ruffled lip.