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Plate A:  C. spectabli.
© Emmanuel Elisha, B: C. spectablis yellow flower. © Online photo.

Nigerian National Plant 
The Nigerian National Plant Costus spectablis (L) is a perennial
herbaceous plant belonging to the family Costaceae. The plant is widely
distributed across Nigeria as well as other African countries and across Asia.
It occurs mostly in damp soil, under shades of shrubs, thickets and forests. If
not for the flower’s bright colouration or the colony spread, it can’t easily
be notices like other herbaceous or woody plant species. The Plant produces
four large fleshy leaves which spread on the ground. The leaf margin is entire
with a purple-pinky colour at the edge. 
It produces single yellow trumpet-like flower at a time then followed by
another which grows from the center of the rosette.  It is the Floral emblem of Nigeria, where the
common name is derived. Other names known with include Yellow trumpet, Costus
and false ginger. This plant use to be classified under the Ginger family
Zingiberaceae. Recent phylogenic studies warrant the herb and relatives to be
on separate family, Costaceae.
PLATE C: Colony
of Costus.

Based on my studies here in Nigeria, this plant sprout
annually from the beginning of raining season (ending April and beginning May)
till the end of the rain (ending September and October)  and flowers between June to August. The
colour representation of the flower on the coat of arm isn’t the yellow but
red. And the question that remains is why red instead yellow? This is the
question I have asked but no one has been able to give me an answer. I think
the colour is been mistaken for the other species which is C. speciosus or C.
pulverulentus
which have red inflorescence.  How I wish this can be reviewed so as to have
the true colour representation of the plant.
I am also of the opinion that this plant can be domesticated
and be of aesthetic value as the plant is beautiful to behold in a garden. I
Love the National plant it really beautiful if you sight the colony.
Reference
Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plant families 1:2.
Specht, C.D., Stevenson, D. 2006. A new phylogeny-based
generic classification of Costaceae (Zingiberales). Taxon 55(1):153-163.
d in a garden. I Love the National plant it really beautiful
if you sight the colony.
EMMANUEL ELISHA



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