I came across this unusual and attractive plant growing wild in Padubidiri. The other common name of Crepe Ginger is Malay Ginger. Crepe Ginger is known as Kusht, Keokanda in Hindi, Koshi in Marthi, Changlakoshta in Kannada and Kushtha in Sanskrit. Costus speciosus is the botanical name and belongs to Costaceae (Spiral Ginger) family. Crepe Ginger is native of India and the South East Asia.
The plant can grow to a height of 10 feet. The leaves are dark green and arranged in a spiral on the stem.
Flowering season starts from October to December. Crepe Ginger flower are white, yellow to orange and sometimes red and the waxy petals have a Crepe texture. They bloom on red cone-shaped bracts at the tip of the sturdy stems.
Picture (above and below) were taken in Singapore Botanical Gardens.
After the flower falls, the red cone bract remains intact adding color to the landscape. A variegated (double color leaves) version of the Crepe Ginger plant is also cultivated.
Crepe Ginger is cultivated for its medicinal value and also for ornamental purpose. The rhizome of the plant is used in Ayurveda to treat cold, fever, rash, asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism, pneumonia, and intestinal worms.
Propagation of Crepe Ginger is by dividing the Rhizome. Plant the Rhizome in well-drained soil and semi-shaded location. Keep the soil moist. Fertilize periodically. It can also be propagated by stem cuttings.