Sunday, August 28, 2011

Crepe Ginger

The Crepe Ginger Costus speciosus is not a ginger at all, but a relative of the ginger family. It is a native of the forests of the Western Ghats. I found these specimens flowering in the rain-soaked forest adjoining IIT Bombay.
The crepe like part is not petals, but is the stamen of the rather insignificant flowers hidden. The plant has a curious habit of spiralling, which you can see in the picture above. When the white 'crepes' have fallen, the plant still has attractive red cones.
Like all native Indian plants, Costus speciosus is also used extensively in Ayurveda, to treat a number of diseases.