Costus lima belongs to the family of the Costaceae. The plant is native to Central America
and South America. In that regions in grows in the under storey of the rainforest mainly at a
lower altitude.C. lima is related to the Zingiberaceae. But one important thing is different
between C. lima and the gingers: The rhizome of the gingers is very aromatic and the one of
C. lima is not.
C. lima grows as a perennial, herbaceous plant and reaches a height of up to 4m. The leaves
are pubescent and feel really fluffy when one touches them. The leaves are simple, elliptic and
get 18 to 60 cm long and 5 to 13 cm wide. The leaves stand spirally around the shoot. They
are fleshy. Due to this fact it was not easy for K. Schumann who discovered C. lima to press
the plant properly to get a good herbal proof.
The flowers are brightly red and zygomorphic. They are surrounded by red bracts. Those red
bracts have appendages which are as well red. The appendages point downwards. This is a
feature that makes it easy to differentiate C. lima from Costus ricus that has such appendages
as well. The bracts and their appendages make the inflorescence look like a cone. The
inflorescence gets 18 cm long and 8 cm wide. The corolla of the zygomorphic flowers is as
well pubescent. The fruit is a capsule that is woody and robust. It includes many black seeds
that are surrounded by an aril. The root of C. lima is a longish rhizome.
The seeds of C. lima should be put into warm water for 24 to 48 hours. After that they can be
planted 0,5 to 1 cm deep into the substrate. C. lima is a tropical plant and needs a temperature
from about 25 to 28°C for germination. The substrate should be constantly moist. In its
natural habitat C. lima grows near rivers and other moist regions.