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Costus malortieanus H. Wendl.

Family Name: Costaceae
Synonyms: Costus elegans Petersen
Common Name: Spiral Ginger, Stepladder Plant, Spiral Flag
Semi-Shade Lots of Water Moderate Water Occasional Misting Ornamental Flowers Ornamental Foliage


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial


Native Distribution Nicaragua and Costa Rica
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Herbaceous plant to 1m tall
Foliage Leaves obovate to elliptic, to 18cm wide. Upper surface  of leaf with a dense layer of soft hairs, light green, with dark green bands running from the apex to base of the leaf.
Flowers Inflorescence to 9cm long, bracts green. Corolla yellow to yellowish white; lip yellow, lateral lobes heavily marked with reddish brown to brown stripes.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Disease / Pest Resistant
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Container Planting

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee))

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Occasional Misting, Lots of Water, Moderate Water
Propagation Method Seed, Division


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden, Orange, Brown
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flowering Period Free-Flowering

Image Repository



Master ID 571
Species ID 1867
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 April 2020.