Costus speciosusThis is a featured page

Costus speciosus

Costus speciosus

Costus speciosus

Costus speciosus
Scientific name
  • Costus speciosus

  • Costaceae

  • Indo-Malaysia
  • Thailand

Common names
  • Cane Reed
  • Spiral Flag
  • Crepe Ginger
  • Spiral Ginger
  • Malay Ginger
  • Setawar
  • Setawar Halia
  • White Costus
  • Setawar Tawar
  • Wild Ginger

Entire plant
  • Erect plant
  • Sub-woody red stem
  • Growing to a height of about 2 to 3m

  • C. specious flowers freely all year round
  • One corolla lobe, the pearly-white lip, is greatly enlarged and has a yellow base; it forms a platform for the large female Carpenter Bees which visit it
  • Inflorescence is borne at the end of the shoots, consisting of a compact cluster of red cone-shaped bracts, each bearing a flower
  • White corolla tinged with yellow in the centre
  • Large
  • Showy

  • Both wild and cultivated in Singapore and flowers freely all the year round
  • Red capsule
  • Leaves are obovate , about 15 to 30 cm long and 5.5 to 7.5 cm wide, blue-green, arranged in a distinct spiral around the stem and with silky hairs underneath
  • Seeds are black with a white aril
  • Mass of calyxes , and associated bracts looks like a little spiky red pineapple measuring about 10 x 5cm

Chemical compounds
  • Diosgenin
  • Tigogenin
  • Palmitates

Medicinal uses
  • Leaves
    • Leaves are also crushed and used in a poultice applied to the head
  • Plant
    • In Malaysia , the plant is boiled in water to prepare a decoction, which is used to bathe a patient with high fever
    • Decoction of the plant are applied as a lotion for smallpox
  • Stem
    • The scrapings of the stem are applied to leprous skin
  • Shoot
    • Juice of the tender shoots or pith is squeezed into the eye for ailments of the eye
  • Rhizome
    • The juice of the fresh rhizome is taken as a purgative
    • In India, the rhizome is powered and taken for colds, rheumatism and pneumonia. It is also believed to be a tonic, depurative and aphrodisiac
    • In Java, the rhizome is used after confinement, and also to treat syphilis

Other uses

  • Entire plant
    • The plant has been considered by the Malays in Malaysia to have magical powers. It is sometimes believed that when used medicinally, it will drive off the evil spirits that have taken possession of one’s body, causing the ailments
    • Unlike most members of the Ginger family , the plant has no aromatic small, but contains the steroid Diosgenin, which can be used as a raw material in the production of synthetic sex hormones

Gardening tips
  • Easily cultivated with rhizome cuttings. The plant grows from a rhizome that produces new shoots to form a wide clump
  • Freely flowering habit makes it a popular garden plant
  • Plant prefers partial shade , but can grow in full sunshine in well drained sandy loam soil
  • Requires lots of water and also occasional spraying

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Latest page update: made by milkylane , Jul 20 2008, 3:41 PM EDT (about this update About This Update milkylane Edited by milkylane

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