Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Monocotyledon Literature for Cheilocostus speciosus
Specht & Stevenson, 2006; Wagner et al., 1990, 1999.
   Costaceae -- The Costus Family Bibliography
      Cheilocostus speciosus

Common name(s): spiral flag, Malay ginger
General Information
DistributionNative from the Himalayas to New Guinea and Australia, widely cultivated throughout the tropics and naturalized in some areas.In the Hawaiian Islands, naturalized on Kaua`i, O`ahu, Lana`i, Maui.

Costaceae - Cheilocostus speciosus Costaceae - Cheilocostus speciosus

Perennial herbs 0.5-4 m tall; stems branched in upper half.
Leaves oblong, oblanceolate, or lanceolate, (5-)12-25(-45) cm long, (1.5-)3-6(-12) cm wide, glabrous or upper surface appressed pubescent, lower surface silky pubescent, petioles (2-)5-8 mm long, pubescent, ligules truncate, 1-2 mm long, minutely pubescent or glabrous, sheaths green tinged red, minutely pubescent or glabrous.
Flowers numerous in ellipsoid, ovoid, or globose heads 2.5-7 cm long, elongating up to ca. 13 cm long with age, 3-5 cm wide, primary bracts tinged red or bright red to purplish red, ovate, coriaceous, densely sericeous or glabrous, with a narrow, fleshy, subapical mucro 2.2-4.5 cm long, 0.7-2.5 cm wide, bracteoles narrow, red tinged along margins, ca. 1-2.2 cm long, glabrous or pubescent; calyx 3-lobed, 2-3 cm long, glabrous or pubescent; corolla white or purple tinged, glabrous, the tube equaling or shorter than calyx, the lobes 3-6.5 cm long; labellum white with a yellow median band and yellow pubescence at throat, broadly obovate, 8-10 cm wide when spread out, the margins crenate; stamen ca. 2.5 cm long, 1.2-1.5 cm wide; ovary ca. 8 mm long, pubescent.
Fruit red, ellipsoid, 1-2.5 cm in diameter, minutely sericeous, crowned by the persistent calyx.
Seeds black, angular, ca. 3 mm long, with a white aril.
2n = 13, 17 27 (irregular), 36, 72.
David Lorence