Costus speciosus (J.Koenig) Sm.

Crepe Ginger

Stems 2-3 m tall. Leaves narrowly elliptic, to 20 cm long, 6 cm wide, softly hairy below. Flower spikes terminal, to 12 cm long, the bracts green suffused with red, spine tipped; year-round. Flowers 1 per bract, white with a yellow centre, the lip broadly obovate to about 10 cm wide.

SE Asia to New Guinea

A popular ornamental plant throughout the tropics.


C. afer Ker Gawl., Spiral Ginger from Africa has hairless, broadly lanceolate leaves to 15 cm long and about 4 cm wide. Flower spike terminal, surrounded by the leaves. Flowers 2 per bract, white with a lip that is yellow in the lower half.

Source: Spencer, R. (2005). Costaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Costus speciosus 'Variegatus'

Leaves variegated.