Insulin plant, Spiral flag

Scientific Name :
Costus pictus D. Don. ex Lindl.
Synonym(s) :
Costus congestus Rowlee
Local/Common name(s) :
Insulin plant, Spiral flag
Family :
Habit :
Flowering/Fruiting Time :
Habitat :
Grown as a medicinal plant
Endemic :
Status (IUCN) :
Distribution :
Native to Mexico; Kerala: throughout (planted)
Nativity :
Uses :
Description (Morphology) :

Perennial rhizomatous herb. Leaf shoot 1-1.5 m high, stem 1.2 m high. Leaves petiolate, petiole 0.3 cm long, glabrous, green; lamina sub panduratus both surface glabrous, apex acuminate, base sub cordate with entire scarious margins, mid rib prominent, venations pinnately parallel. Ligule 0.2-0.3 cm long, completely encircles the pseudostem, margins ciliate, green. Inflorescence terminal, spike compact, one flower opened at a time. Bracts numerous, closely imbricating broadly ovate, greenish towards apex, reddish brown towards the base, hyaline, scarious, one flower per bract. Bracteoles boat-shaped, apex slightly greenish, reddish brown towards the base, tip pointed, margin scariouse. Calyx cup-shaped, reddish brown, three lobed, pubescent, persistent. Corolla tube lemon yellow, glabrous; dorsal corolla tube broadly ovate, light yellow, margins recurved, glabrous; lateral lobes ovate, oblong, lemon yellow, glabrous. Labellum tubular, funnel-shaped, lemon yellow, three lobed at apex, midlobe yellow, without stripes; lateral lobes light yellow with reddish brown stripes, glabrous. Lateral staminodes, obsolete. Filament yellow, broad, hairy towards the center; anther thecae white, ovate, dehisced by longitudinal slits. Anther crests broadly ovate, median yellow, margin reddish brown. Ovary trigonous, pubescent or villous.

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