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Family Profile


Family Description

The family consists of seven genera and over 150 species, native to tropical areas of Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas. The largest genus is Costus. Other genera include Chamaecostus (sIx pecies), Cheilocostus (four species), Tapeinochilos (16 s


Costus - A genus of about 70 species mainly in Africa and the New World; one species occurs naturally in Australia. One species has become naturalised.

Tapeinochilos - A genus of about 16 species in the Moluccas of Malesia, New Guinea, Vanuatu and Australia; one species occurs naturally in Australia. Smith (1987).


Burkill, H.M. 1985. The useful plants of west tropical Africa, Vol 1

Hsi-tao, T. & Shao-quan, T. (1981). Zingiberaceae subfam. Costoideae. In: Wu Te-lin, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 16(2): 148-152.

Maas, P.J.M. (1979) Notes on Asiatic and Australian Costoideae (Zingiberaceae). Blumea 25(2): 543-549

Newman SWH, Kirchoff BK (1992) Ovary structure in the Costaceae (Zingiberales). International Journal of Plant Sciences 153, 471-87.

Smith, R.M. (1987). Costaceae. Flora of Australia. 45: 34-37.

Specht, C.D. & Stevenson, D. Wm. (2006). A new phylogeny-based generic classification of Costaceae (Zingiberales). Taxon 55(1): 153-163.