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  Costus woodsonii Maas
  Family Name : Costaceae

  Common Names : Scarlet Spiral Flag, Red Button Ginger

Scarlet Spiral Flag,Red Button Ginger
  • Record Info
  • Life Stage & Characteristics
    • Plant Division :
      Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
      Plant Growth Form :
      Herbaceous Plant
      Lifespan (in Singapore) :
      Mode of Nutrition :
      Maximum Height :
      1 m to 2 m
      Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width :
      0.6 m to 1 m
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
      Nicaragna to Colombia
      Native Habitat :
      Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest; Secondary Rainforest)
      Preferred Climate Zone :
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      Growth Form: It is a perennial herbaceous plant about 1-2 m tall, with a clump forming growth habit.
      Foliage: The broadly elliptical leaves (15 cm long, 8 cm wide) are hairless, glossy and spirally arranged along the stems.
      Stems: Round, succulent stems are produced by an underground horizontal stem known as a rhizome. The aboveground stems are erect to leaning and loosely spiraled.
      Flowers: The inflorescence is cylindrical with a tapered tip (6-10 cm long) and occurs at the stem tip. The bracts are tightly overlapped, bright red and waxy. The reddish-orange, tubular flowers have a yellow-orange lip near the apex. They emerge at the top of the inflorescence, 1-3 at a time from between the bracts.
      Fruits: The dry, dehiscent fruit is known as a capsule. It is woody and approximately round to egg-shaped. 
      Associated Fauna :
      Ants are attracted to the extrafloral nectaries which occur between the bracts and supply nectar. The ants do not pollinate the tubular flowers, but they may help to protect the developing fruits from damage by fly larvae.
      Cultivation :
      It grows best in rich, moist soil in semi-shade, being susceptible to sunburn under hot afternoon sun. Feed once a month with a balanced fertilizer such as one with a NPK ratio of 15-15-15.
      Etymology :
      The specific epithet 'woodsonii' honours Dr. Robert Woodson Jr. (1904-1963), curator of the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium.
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      Edible Plant Parts (Edible Flowers)
      Cut / Dried Flower
  • Landscaping Features
    • Desirable Plant Features :
      Ornamental Flowers
      Plant & Rootzone Preference/Tolerance :
      Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Fertile Loamy Soils
      Landscape Uses :
      General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Coastal, Flowerbed / Border, Container Planting
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Water Preference :
      Lots of Water, Occasional Misting
      Diseases :
      It is generally resistant to disease.
      Propagation Method :
      Stem Cutting (Tip; Herbaceous), Division, Aerial Plantlet, [Remarks] (The stem can be cut into several pieces for propagation. Plantlets form at the base of withered inflorescences.)
  • Foliar
    • Mature Foliage Colour(s) :
      Mature Foliage Texture(s) :
      Smooth, Glossy / Shiny
      Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) :
      Young Flush Texture(s) :
      Foliar Type :
      Simple / Unifoliate
      Foliar Arrangement Along Stem :
      Foliar Attachment to Stem :
      Foliar Shape(s) :
      Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical)
      Foliar Venation :
      Foliar Margin :
      Foliar Apex / Tip :
      Leaf Area Index (LAI) * for Green Plot Ratio :
      3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)
  • Floral (Angiosperm)
    • Flower Colour(s) :
      Orange, Red, Yellow / Golden
      Flower Grouping :
      Cluster / Inflorescence
      Flower Location :
  • Fruit, Seed & Spore
    • Mature Fruit Colour(s) [Angiosperms & Gymnosperms] :
      Red, White
      Mature Fruit Texture(s) :
      Mature Seed Colour(s) :
The information given on this website has been compiled from reference works on medicinal plants and/or pron only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Reliance on this information is strictly at your own risk. You should always consult your physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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