commonly known as: cane-reed, crepe ginger, Malay ginger, spiral flag, spiral ginger, wild ginger
Kannada: nari kabbu, naayi kabbu, pushkaramula
Malayalam: anakkuva, cannakkuva
Tamil: kostam, ven-kostam
Telugu: kasmiramu, kimuka koshtamu
Despite its common name, crepe ginger is only a distant relative of the edible ginger family. It is a tall and dramatic landscape plant with large dark green leaves arranged on the stalk in a spiral. This Costus can grow to 10 ft tall in frost-free areas, but is typically small as a potted plant. The flowers appear in late summer or early fall, and are quite unusual looking. They form on red 4 in cone-shaped bracts, with several 2 in pure white crinkled flowers protruding from each cone. The flowers look like crepe paper – thus the common name of crepe ginger. After the flowers fade away, the attractive red cone-shaped bracts remain. The large crepy object is not the petal, but the stamen – the three true petals of each flower are inconspicuous, and are alomst hidden by the bell shaped stamen.