|Spiked spiralflag ginger
Indian head ginger
Costus spicatus leaves grow to a length of approximately 1 ft (30 cm) and a width of approximately 4 in (10 cm). It produces a short red cone, from which red-orange flowers emerge one at a time. In botanical literature, Costus woodsonii has often been misidentified as Costus spicatus. Both species are common in cultivation.
Costus spicatus will grow in full sun if it is kept moist. It reaches a maximum height of about 6 to 7 feet.
Costus spicatus can develop a symbiotic partnership with certain species of ants (often only a single species of ant will be compatible). The ants are provided with a food source (nectar in C. spicatus flowers) as well as a place to construct a nest. In turn, the ants protect developing seeds from herbivorous insects.
In Dominican folk medicine, herbal tea made from the leaves of C. spicatus is used to treat diabetes (hyperglycemia). However, a 2009 study concluded that this treatment "...had no efficacy in the treatment of obesity-induced hyperglycemia."
- United States Department of Agriculture. "Costus spicatus information from NPGS/GRIN". USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-12-25.
- United States Department of Agriculture. "PLANTS Profile for Costus spicatus (spiked spiralflag)". USDA Plants. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-12-25.
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Costus spicatus
- Top Tropicals Botanical Garden (2010). "Costus spicatus, Alpinia spicata, Spiked Spiralflag". Retrieved 2010-12-25.
- George W. Staples and Derral R. Herbst. 2005. "A Tropical Garden Flora". Bishop Museum Press: Honolulu. ISBN 978-1-58178-039-0.
- Keller AC, Vandebroek I, Liu Y, Balick MJ, Kronenberg F, Kennelly EJ, Brillantes AM (January 2009). "Costus spicatus tea failed to improve diabetic progression in C57BLKS/J db/db mice, a model of type 2 diabetes mellitus". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 121 (2): 248–54. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.10.025. PMC . PMID 19027842.