Costus arabicus L.

First published in Sp. Pl.: 2 (1753)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is Caribbean to S. Tropical America. It is a rhizomatous geophyte and grows primarily in the wet tropical biome. It is used as a medicine and for food.


Native to:

Argentina Northeast, Bolivia, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Haiti, Leeward Is., Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Windward Is.


Homotypic Synonyms

Heterotypic Synonyms


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POWO follows these authorities in accepting this name:

  • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.
  • Hokche, O., Berry, P.E. & Huber, O. (eds.) (2008). Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela: 1-859. Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela.
  • de Moura Júnior, E.G. & al. (2015). Updated checklist of aquatic macrophytes from Northern Brazil. Acta Amazonica 45: 111-132.

Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

  • Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá.

Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia

  • Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R., & Celis, M. (eds.). (2020). Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia. v1.1. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Dataset/Checklist.
  • Bernal, R., S.R. Gradstein & M. Celis (eds.). 2019. Nombres comunes de las plantas de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá.
  • Diazgranados et al. (2021). Catalogue of plants of Colombia. Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia project. In prep.
  • Diazgranados, M., Allkin, B., Black N., Cámara-Leret, R., Canteiro C., Carretero J., Eastwood R., Hargreaves S., Hudson A., Milliken W., Nesbitt, M., Ondo, I., Patmore, K., Pironon, S., Turner, R., Ulian, T. (2020). World Checklist of Useful Plant Species. Produced by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity.
  • (2021). GBIF species matching tool.
  • Medicinal Plant Names Services (MPNS) v.10 (2021);
  • Plants for malaria, plants for fever: Medicinal species in Latin America, a bibliographic survey: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • RBG, Kew (2021). Kew Economic Botany Collection.

Other Data

Other Kew resources that provide information on this taxon:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Jan 1, 2008 Zappi, D.C.; Milliken, W.; Sasaki, D.; Frisby, S.; Henicka, G.; Pena, E.M.; Leite, R.A.; Piva, J. [1473] Brazil K000579088 Yes
Jan 1, 2008 Zappi, D.C.; Milliken, W.; Biggs, N.; Henicka, G.S.; Silveira, E.A.; Philippsen, M.; Piva, J.H. [1189] Brazil K000578681 Yes
Jul 28, 1967 Ule, E. [9196] Peru K000586773 Type Yes
Jul 27, 1967 Smith, A.C. [2869] Guyana K000586752 Isotype Yes
Jul 26, 1967 Hassler, E. [5974] Paraguay K000586753 Type Yes
Mello-Silva, R.; Forzza, R.C. [1731] Brazil K001252206 Yes
[s.n.] Saint Lucia K002425056 Yes
Mutchnick, P.; Allicock, B. [454] Guyana K002425122 No
Philcox, D. [3289] Brazil K:SPC-07574.000 No
Burchell [3278] Brazil K001252221 Yes
Steyermark, J.A. [87765] Venezuela K002425234 Yes
Johnston, J.R. [213] Venezuela K002425235 Yes
Lindeman, J.C.; de Haas, J. [4486] Brazil K001252218 Yes
Plowman, T. [6560] Peru K:SPC-44440.000 No
Strudwick, J.J.; Sobel, G.L.; Nelson, B.W.; Nazzaré Pinheiro, A.; Da Silva Rosário, C.; Alvas Da Silva, N. [3492] Brazil K001252226 Yes
Samuels, J.A. [186] Suriname K002425126 No
Lima, A. [53-1525] Brazil K001252213 Yes
Lands Bosbeheer, S. [10886] Suriname K002425124 No
Prance, G.T.; Steward, J.R.; Ramos, J.F.; Farias, L.G. [10350] Brazil K001252204 Yes
s.coll. [DPM15] Guyana K002425120 No
Soares, C.R.A.; Zappi, D.C.; Milliken, W.; Frisby, S.; Silva, D.R.; Lindolfo, L.F.; Forte, A.F. [s.n.] Brazil K000543326 Yes
s.coll. [[illegible]] Guyana K002425108 No
Philcox, D.; Fereira, A.; Bertoldo, J. [3289] Brazil K001252219 Yes
Sandwith, N.Y. [447] Guyana K002425109 No
Appun, C.F. [702] Guyana K002425112 No
Gorinsky, C. [25] Guyana K002425118 No
{Harley, R.M.; Bromley, G.L.; Santana, S.C.; Hage, J.L.; E. B. dos Santos} [22226] Brazil K001252229 Yes
Lindeman, J.C.; Görts-van Rijn, A.R.A.; Jansen-Jacobs, M.J.; Hetterscheid-Hollants, A.M.C. [663] Suriname K002425129 No
Samuels, J.A. [355] Suriname K002425127 No
[s.n.] K002425058 Yes
González-Elizondo, M.S. [2053] French Guiana K002425130 No
Irwin, H.S.; Grear, J.W.; Souza, R.; Reis dos Santos, R. [16339] Brazil K001252203 Yes
Parker [s.n.] Guyana K002425105 No
Steyermark, J.A. [87765] Venezuela K002425233 Yes
Jansen-Jacobs, M.J.; ter Welle, B.J.H.; Gopaul, D.; James, V. [2347] Guyana K002425119 No
Prance, G.T.; Maas, P.J.M.; Kubitzki, K.; Steward, W.C.; Ramos, J.F. [11982] Brazil K001252217 Yes
Spruce, R. [s.n.] Brazil K001252214 Yes
[C. V. Rambaren] [60] Guyana K002425115 No
Araujo-Murakami, A.; Carrión, A.M.; Changaray, R.; Huacama y E, R.; Espinoza, S. [5183] Bolivia K001378451 Yes
[C. V. Rambaren] [60] Guyana K002425114 No
Jansen-Jacobs, M.J.; Lilwah, R.; Raghoenandan, U.P.D.; Scheplitz, F.; Vermeer, J. [5574] Guyana K002425123 No
Burchell [3068] Brazil K001252209 Yes
Harley, R.M.; Souza, R.; De Castro, R.D.; Ferreira, A. [10765] Brazil K001252216 Yes
{T. S. dos Santos; Mattos Silva, L.A.} [3247] Brazil K001252227 Yes
Ratter, J.A.; Milliken, W.; Coelho, D.; Lima, J.; Silva, P.D. [R5668] Brazil K001252232 Yes
Lands Bosbeheer, S. [10886] Suriname K002425125 No
Braga, J.M.A. [7151] Brazil K001252228 Yes
Seyler, R. [s.n.] Brazil K001252212 Yes
s.coll. [3907] Guyana K002425111 No
Prance, G.T.; Silva, A.S.; Balick, M.J.; Henderson, A.J.; Nelson, B.W. [P25718] Brazil K001252208 Yes
Prance, G.T.; Hill, R.J.; Penniington, T.D.; Ramos, J.M. [24198] Brazil K001252225 Yes
Jenman, G.S. [609] Guyana K002425107 No
[s.n.] Guadeloupe K002425057 Yes
{Jansen-Jacobs, M.J.; B. J. H. ter Welle; Simmons, C.; Jacobus-Brouwer, A.; James, V.} [4570] Guyana K002425121 No
Harley, R.M.; Mayo, S.J.; Storr, R.M.; Santos, T.S.; Pinheiro, R.S. [18341] Brazil K001252230 Yes
Parker [s.n.] Guyana K002425106 No
Rombouts, H.E. [452] Suriname K002425128 No
Woolston, A.L. [1091] Paraguay K002425132 Yes
Goldsmith [74] Brazil K001252207 Yes
{Alexandre Adalardo de Oliveria} [2610] Brazil K001252205 Yes
Jenman, G.S. [602] Guyana K002425113 No
Folli, D.A. [2696] Brazil K002425131 No
Amaral, I.L.; Cid, C.A.; Guedas, J.; Lima, J. [291] Brazil K001252231 Yes
Sandwith, N.Y. [447] Guyana K002425110 No
Jenman, G.S. [8690] Guyana K002425104 No
Harley, R.M.; Souza, R. [10223] Brazil K001252220 Yes
s.coll. [8097] Brazil K001252215 Yes
Torke, B.M.; Valda, J. [577] Bolivia K002425231 Yes
Krukoff, B.A. [4567] Brazil K001252210 Yes
Argent, G.; Ramos, J.; Richards, P.W.; Souza, R. [6453] Brazil K001252223 Yes
Anderson, W.; McPherson, G.D. [11847] Bolivia K002425232 Yes
Burchell [9884] Brazil K001252211 Yes
Eiten, G.; Eiten, L. [9689] Brazil K001252224 Yes
Harris, S.A. [TP446] Guyana K002425117 No
Harrison, S.G. [1711] Guyana K002425116 No
Argent, G.; Ramos, J.; Richards, P.W.; Souza, R. [6453] Brazil K001252222 Yes
s.coll. [s.n.] Costus discolor K002425393 No


  • Angiosperm Extinction Risk Predictions v1

    • Angiosperm Threat Predictions
  • Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

  • Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible

    • ColPlantA 2021. Published on the Internet at
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    • 'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    • Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew
  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2023 World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2023 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
  • Kew Science Photographs

    • Copyright applied to individual images
  • Neotropikey

    • Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.
  • Universidad Nacional de Colombia

    • ColPlantA database
  • Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia