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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 10/28/2012)

Flora Data (Last Modified On 10/28/2012)
Description Perennial herbs, usually aromatic, frequently of gigantic size, with horizontal tuberous rhizomes, caulescent or scapose; leaves spiral or distichous, with an open or closed basal ligulate sheath; inflorescence 1- to many-flowered, frequently cone- like and composed of rather showy bracts subtending the solitary or clustered flowers, terminating the leafy stem or on a special radical scape; flowers perfect, relatively small to very large and showy, usually strongly asymmetrical; perianth segments 6, in two series, the outer calyx-like, the inner petalaceous, more or less strongly united; fertile stamen 1, occasionally large and petalaceous, with a 2- celled anther; staminodia 1-3, the anterior (labellum) usually largest and frequently surpassing the corolla, thus imparting the aspect of an Orchid flower; ovary inferior, 2- to 3-celled; style terminal, usually elongate, free or more or less enveloped in a groove of the fertile stamen; stigma subcapitate; fruit fleshy and indehiscent or loculicidally 3-valved; seeds mostly accompanied by a fleshy aril.
Note Renealmia, Costus, and Dimerocostus are among the most conspicuous herbs of Panamanian thickets and bush at all but the highest elevations, although favoring the coastal region. The beauty of the flowers of several species is rivalled only by certain of the native Orchids. In addition to the three native genera, Curcuma, Languas (Alpinia), and Hedychium are cultivated frequently, as well as the ubiquitous Ginger (Zingiber). Hedychium coronarium, the Ginger Lily, with its large fragrant white flowers, has established itself as a particularly exuberant escape, usually in low rather marshy spots.
Key a. Leaves distichous, the sheaths open; flowers relatively small, the stamen not petaloid - 1. RENEALMIA aa. Leaves spiral, the sheaths closed; flowers relatively larger, the stamen petaloid. b. Bracts longer than the fruit; bracteoles free, laminate; ovary 3- celled. - 2. COSTUS bb. Bracts shorter than the fruit; bracteoles concrescent, tubular; ovary 2-celled.- 3. DIMEROCOSTUS
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