Spirit of the land: Spectacular Costus Spectabilis

The showy yellow flowers open singly growing from the center of the abaxial leaves


Nigeria is a tropical West African country that has relatively warm climate with temperatures ranging from 43 to 111 degrees F. Climate conditions vary across the land, with cooler temperatures and higher average rainfall on the coastal regions and dryer temperatures as you progress inland. The climate is generally defined by the dry and the rainy seasons and the period between the two, the Harmattan, when dry winds come blowing from the Sahara desert to the coast with its fine blanket of dust across the country. These different seasons and different landscapes allow for a diverse variety of vegetation and floral types.

Nigeria is an earthly paradise of blue skies. coastal pristine sandy beaches, tropital rainforests wet and humid with bold leafed jungle plants. a proliferation of air and under canopy flora, mangrove forests and wetlands of the Niger Delta.

Move northwards the landscape changes gradualy to the mixed guinea savannah, on to the open grassland savannah, the Sahel, till you reach fringes of the northernmost borders where there is encroachment by the Sahara desert. The landscape is dotted with cacti and succulents vegetation.

Nigeria is a land filled with the most colorful, exotic some rare and so many unique plants .One cannot help but appreciate the dance of colors that the daylights of tropical sunshine brings to the vegetation and flowers in various colors and hues of the rainbow.

Our national flower. Costus spectabilis or its common name yellow trumpet which can be seen on the Naitonal Heraldry, our Coat of Arms, is a well chosen emblem of our per- personality, our down to earth resilence, cheerfulness and ever sunny loving nature. Costus spectabiiis with bright golden flo ers grow in different parts of the land The plant grows in colonies close to the ground, with saucer like rosette leaves flattened to the ground.

From the flattened rosettes rise huge golden trumpets floating on emerald islands, its so close to the earth only, 5 ins from the ground it stands out with the bright sunny trumpets that lights up the dark earth, which depicts the cheerful nature of the people, their resilence and uniqueness. Individual flowers don’t last long , but new ones keep coming up for some time while its growth cycle last. In nature the rhizome branches and a whole colony of plants which form what looks like water lilies on the ground. The plant has a growth cycle coming alive with the rains from April/May to October. Then it dies completely and goes dormant in the dry season, waiting until another raining season when the right conditions will come again.

History
The Costus root has been in use from antiquity as ingredient for incense. It has been mentioned in history many times and is believed to have been used in medicine for thousand of years. Pliny, the first century writer, described the plants as having a most exquisite odor and causing burning sensation in the mouth, in his Materia Medica, Dioscorides wrote that Costus has aphrodisiac qualities. Since ancient times Costus was in commodities on the trade routes, was also mentioned by Oribasius, Strabo, Theophrasus and others. The Costus bloom is usually golden yellow but can range from yellow to red, from a smaller trumpet shape to a broader ruffled, crinkled flowers.. This is because Costus spectabilis has a wide range of areas and varying conditions on which it grows. It’s a native to the land.

Familial Traits
Distictive gingers (Zingiberaceae) , there are many ornamental gingers, aproximately1,400 species, including edible ginger. The Costus genus of about 109 species used to belong to this family and were all classified as gingers, Costus are known as spiral gingers, known as spiral gingers and have since been moved into its own genus, Costaceae. Their underground roots are rhizomes, and they are shade-loving plants, with some species able to grow in full sunlight. They prefer moist soil and humid climate. The rhizomes, which are covered in brown papery scales which are hairy in their lower half, lengthen, spreading below the ground level to form new offshoots. In cultivation, in pots, the rhizomes will grow through the drainage holes or follow the inside contours of the pot.

Looking at this symbolic plant Costus spectabilis and the flora of Nigeria, it’s certain God created this land to be a paradise on earth.lt is certainly a blessing ( a gift of God), this land that was created a tropical paradise of exotic beautiful flora. Nigeria is a land of diversity, varieties. the rare, the unique and many cultures. The people are bright, warm down to earth and full of sunshine. It is the spirit of the people and the land of Nigeria that is symbolizied in its national floral emblem the spectacular Costus spectabilis.
This land of one’s birth is one to be proud of.
Pray for unity, truth, peace and progress of Nigeria
We must build a nation where peace and justice reign.
Happy Independence Day
“Today, more than ever before, life must be chat-
acterised by a sense of universal responsibility….” — Dalai Lama

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Costus Spectabilis
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