Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Cheilocostus speciosus



Cheilocostus speciosus


  • Last modified
  • 13 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Cheilocostus speciosus
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • C. speciosus is a perennial herb native to Malaysia. It is widely naturalized in the Pacific region, although it can be very invasive there. It is often found in disturbed areas, on roadsides and in the forest...

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Cheilocostus speciosus (J. Koenig) C. D. Specht

Other Scientific Names

  • Costus speciosus (J.König) Sm.

International Common Names

  • English: crape ginger; variegated ginger

Local Common Names

  • Cuba: cañuela snata
  • Micronesia, Federated states of: sinser weitahta (Pohnpei)

Summary of Invasiveness

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C. speciosus is a perennial herb native to Malaysia. It is widely naturalized in the Pacific region, although it can be very invasive there. It is often found in disturbed areas, on roadsides and in the forest understory. In Pohnpei it is common in watersheds where the land has been disturbed by sakau growing (Englberger, 2009).

Its seeds can be spread by birds and rodents, in soil and on machinery. C. speciosus can also spread via its stems and rhizomes (Englberger, 2009).


Taken from Stone (1970):

Tall plant, 1.5 m tall or more, with erect or spreading stems; leaves elliptic or obovate, up to 20 cm long or more, about 4-6.4 cm wide, pubescent beneath; shortly petiolate; inflorescence terminal, large, up to 10 cm long, with red bracts about 1.5 cm long ; flowers white, calyx red, corolla white, 5-6 cm long; stamen crest yellow; capsules red; seeds black with a white fleshy aril.

Prevention and Control

Taken from Englberger (2009):

Mechanical control by pulling is difficult but can be effective if done repeatedly for an extended period. For younger plants, a foliar spray of triclopyr can be used. For older plants, stem application of undiluted triclopyr, brushed or sprayed onto freshly-cut stems, can be used.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Monocotyledonae
  •                     Order: Zingiberales
  •                         Family: Zingiberaceae
  •                             Genus: Cheilocostus
  •                                 Species: Cheilocostus speciosus

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


MalaysiaPresentNativeEnglberger, 2009

North America

USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized

Central America and Caribbean

CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012


American SamoaPresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized
FijiPresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized
GuamPresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroduced Invasive Englberger, 2009Invasive in Pohnpei, where it is often found in watersheds where the land has been disturbed by sakau growing. Also present in Kosrae and Yap
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized
NiuePresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized
PalauPresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized
SamoaPresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized
TongaPresentIntroducedEnglberger, 2009Naturalized

Habitat List

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Englberger K, 2009. Invasive weeds of Pohnpei: A guide for identification and public awareness. Kolonia, Federated States of Micronesia: Conservation Society of Pohnpei, 29 pp.

Oviedo Prieto R; Herrera Oliver P; Caluff MG, et al. , 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 6(Special Issue 1):22-96.

Stone BC, 1970. The flora of Guam. Micronesica 6:218.

Distribution Maps

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