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Tapeinochilos ananassae of the family Costaceae
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales
Family: Costaceae

Costaceae, known as the Costus family or spiral gingers, is a family of pantropical monocots. It belongs to the order Zingiberales, which contains horticulturally and economically important plants such as the banana (Musaceae), bird-of-paradise (Strelitziaceae), and edible ginger (Zingiberaceae). The seven genera in Costaceae together contain about 143 known species[2] (1 in Monocostus, 2 in Dimerocostus, 16 in Tapeinochilos, 2 in Paracostus, c. 8 in Chamaecostus, c. 5 in Hellenia, and c. 80 in Costus).[3] They are native to tropical climates of Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America. Several species are frequently found in cultivation.[citation needed]


The simple leaves are entire and spirally arranged, with those toward the base of the stem usually bladeless. Leaf bases have a closed sheath with a ligule, or projection at the top of the sheath.

Costaceae is different from the other families of Zingiberales in that its species have 5 fused staminodes, rather than 2 or 3, and the Costaceae contain no aromatic oils. The fused infertile stamens form a large petaloid labellum that often functions to attract pollinators. The flowers are solitary in Monocostus. In the other genera, the flowers are borne in a terminal spike that ranges from elongate to nearly capitate. Each flower is subtended by a large bract. The fruit is a berry or capsule. The rhizome is fleshy with tuberous roots.


Cladogram: Phylogeny of Zingiberales[4]

Phylogenetic tree of the family.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 161 (2): 105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x. hdl:10654/18083.
  2. ^ Christenhusz, M. J. M.; Byng, J. W. (2016). "The number of known plants species in the world and its annual increase". Phytotaxa. 261 (3). Magnolia Press: 201–217. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.261.3.1.
  3. ^ Chelsea D. Specht & Dennis Wm. Stevenson. 2006. "A new phylogeny-based generic classification of Costaceae (Zingiberales)".Taxon 55(1):153-163. (See External links below).
  4. ^ Sass et al 2016.


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