Cheilocostus speciosus

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Crêpe Ginger
Cheilocostus speciosus.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Costaceae
Genus: Cheilocostus
Species: C. speciosus
Binomial name
Cheilocostus speciosus
(J.Konig) C.Specht[1]
Synonyms
  • Banksea speciosa J.Koenig in A.J.Retzius
  • Hellenia speciosa (J.Koenig) S.R.Dutta

many more

Cheilocostus speciosus or (syn. Costus speciosus) or crêpe ginger is possibly the best known cultivated species of the genus Costus. This plant is native to southeast Asia and surrounding regions, from India to China to Queensland, It is especially common on the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is also reportedly naturalized in Mauritius, Réunion, Fiji, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Belize, Melanesia, Micronesia, and the West Indies.[2][3]

Description[edit]

Cheilocostus speciosus differs from the common ginger by having only one row of spirally arranged leaves. The species reproduces vegetatively by rhizome, and birds disperse the seeds when they feed on the fruits.

This plant is cultivated in India for its medicinal uses, and is cultivated elsewhere as an ornamental. In some areas Cheilocostus speciosus is introduced and has become an invasive species.

Habitat[edit]

The habitat where this species is found is roadside ditches and low lying areas in the forest. The flowering season starts after the rainy season, from October to December.

Human relevance[edit]

The plant has many historical uses in Ayurveda, where the rhizome has been used to treat fever, rash, asthma, bronchitis, and intestinal worms. It is mentioned in the Kama Sutra as an ingredient in a cosmetic to be used on the eyelashes to increase sexual attractiveness.

Cheilocostus speciosus has a large number of common names in many languages, including isebsab' (Palauan); keu, kemuk or keumul (Bengali); keukand (Hindi); thebu (Sinhala); pakarmula (Gujarati); pushkarmula (Marathi and Sanskrit); jom lakhuti (Assamese); kostam (Tamil); "Kosta" in Kannada; and "Kostamu" in Telugu.

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