Malay Spiral Ginger

Costus speciousus
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.

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