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Monocostus Schumann
Punt, Rev. Palaeobotan. Palynol. 7:37. 1968.

Type: Monocostus uniflorus

Description:
     Low plants 20-60 cm tall that are unique among Costaceae in having solitary flowers in the axils of upper leaves rather than well-developed inflorescences. The flower has an open labellum that is yellow in color. The bracteole is long and tubular and the calyx very large and remaining in fruit. The stigma is cup-shaped. The ovary is bilocular (ovaries are tri-locular in Costus), ovules uniseriate. The capsule is large, elongate and longitudinally dehiscent exposing glossy black seeds. Most of the plants parts are red-brown punctate, with the leaf margins being almost solid red.

Geographical Distribution:
     Restricted to low forests near the town of Tarapoto in the San Martin district.

Phylogeny and Classification:
     Monocostus is sister to the genus Dimerocostus. These two genera form an exclusively New World clade with Chamaecostus at the base of the Costaceae phylogeny.

Taxonomic Diversity:
     The genus is monotypic with the only species, Monocostus uniflorus, showing a close phylogenetic relationship to the genus Dimerocostus.

Ecology and Pollination Biology:
     Monocostus uniflorus is an understory species found in primary forests between 200-500 meters above sea level. Nothing is reported about its pollination.

Fruit of Monocostus uniflorus
Monocostus uniflorus in flower.
Drawing of Monocostus uniflorus by Alice Tangerini.

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