The seasons on Borneo are so subtle, after eight years I still couldn’t tell you what month the rains end or when the dry season starts. But now that a shift is upon us, I relish the small differences. Winds are changing, rain falls harder, durians are appearing at the roadside, and the Malay Spiral Ginger is flowering again. Costus speciosus
is a showy plant, thick canes holding giant red bracts throwing out a dozen white papery flowers one by one. It also one of two
possible plants the Arabs call Qust
and use for traditional medicine
, the other possibility being Saussurea costus
, some sort of Aster.