From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Water trumpet
Cryptocoryne wendtii Green.jpg
Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Green'
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocotyledons
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Cryptocoryneae
Genus: Cryptocoryne
Fisch. ex Wydler

See text

Cryptocoryne (water trumpet) is a genus of about 50–60 species of aquatic monocot plants from the family Araceae (arums). The genus is naturally distributed in tropical regions of Asia and New Guinea.

The typical habitats of Cryptocoryne are mostly streams and rivers with not too rapidly flowing water, in the lowland forest. They also live in seasonally inundated forest pools or on river banks submerged only at high water. Although the proper scientific name of the genus is Cryptocoryne, they are commonly referred to as crypts. The English name "water trumpet" refers to their inflorescence, a spadix enclosed by a spathe (typical for the whole family), which resembles a trumpet.

The first Cryptocoryne species was described in 1779 as Arum spirale by Retzius. The genus was described by Friedrich Ernst Ludwig von Fischer in 1828. However, the scientific classification of Cryptocoryne species is very complicated and there are different opinions about it. Lagenandra is another genus closely related to the genus Cryptocoryne. The two can be easily told apart since the leaves of Cryptocoryne species exhibit convolute vernation whereas Lagenandra species exhibit involute vernation.

The name Cryptocoryne is derived from the Greek crypto, hidden, and koryne, meaning club. The common name (water trumpet) refers to the shape of its inflorescence, which is typical of the arum family.

Selected species[edit]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Some water trumpets are popular commercially cultivated aquarium plants. Submerged plants reproduce vegetatively, emerse plants may flower and reproduce sexually. Many species are cultivated only by dedicated experts and are very hard to grow, or are not present in a culture at all. Some species are endangered because their natural habitats are disappearing. On the other hand, some water trumpets (e.g. Cryptocoryne beckettii) are very hardy aquarium plants, easy to grow to the point that they have become an invasive species after being introduced in Florida in North America.[1]

Some of the Cryptocorynes are generally the easier ones to keep (in fact, some species, such as Cryptocoryne wendtii are said to be among the most versatile of aquarium plants); they require low to moderate light (but can grow faster in more intense light), a temperature range of around 20 to 33 °C, and slightly acidic or neutral pH, though they can adapt to higher pH as well. In contrast to accepted aquarium wisdom, it thrives well in calcareous water. Many modern aquariums may be too well lit for crypts to thrive.

Plants of the genus Cryptocoryne, which range from India to New Guinea are found in very diverse conditions. Some are true acid loving plants such as C. grabowski, found in peat bogs in Borneo, while others such as C. balansae and C. pontiderifolia are found in streams with limestone beds—hard alkaline water. One species, C. ciliata is even found in semi brackish water in some areas. It is one of the few aquarium plants that tolerates salt concentrations that would almost certainly kill other aquarium plants.

There has been an extensive revision of the genus by Jacobsen and many names aquarists are familiar with have been changed. Crypts also have an annoying (to taxonomists!) tendency to hybridize freely in nature and there are a handful of "species" found in nature that are hybrids. Together with the fact that some species show a large variability (C. wendtii) and can only be properly identified by the flowering spathe, this makes it difficult to identify some species solely on leaf habit.

Cryptocoryne plants have been in cultivation in the aquarium hobby since the late 18th century, although it was not until the 1960s that more than a handful of species was known and became more common in the hobby. New species still regularly crop up as interest in these plants widens and more collecting expeditions by private parties are carried out.

Crypts are of commercial importance in the pet trade and have escaped into the wild in America, Jamaica, and other places. Texas and Florida both have stands of well established populations and these are considered invasive weeds with no known methods of control.

Crypt melt[edit]

A phenomenon often encountered when planting new crypts in an aquarium is commonly called Crypt melt, whereby the plant loses all its leaves.[2] There seem to be two possible causes for this.

Rapid environmental changes is thought to trigger this, as these plants don't seem to adapt well to transplantion, and may need 30 days or so to become established and for the leaves to regrow. Experienced growers report that it is better to plant crypts in aquariums that have been established for at least three months[citation needed].

In the wild, Crypts can grow fully submerged underwater, but in Oriental nurseries they are often grown emersed and crypt melt could then be triggered by the change from emerse to submerse conditions.

There is lately a trend for such nurseries to send crypts as just a rootstock (i.e. without the leaves to reduce shipping costs and because the leaves will be lost anyway once planted in an aquarium.

Other reports[3] emphasise the need to change the aquarium water regularly to prevent the buildup of nitrates which are thought to trigger this condition (often referred to as a disease)


  • Huxley, A. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan.
  • Arends, J. C., Bastmeijer, J. D. & Jacobsen, N. (1982). "Chromosome numbers and taxonomy in Cryptocoryne (Araceae). II.". Nord. J.Bot. 2: 453–463. doi:10.1111/j.1756-1051.1982.tb01208.x. 
  • Clark, Robert. 1991. Flower and seed production in Cryptocoryne. The Aquatic Gardener 4:1/91.
  • Davis, Greg and Mike Kane. 1995. Inducing flowering in Cryptocoryne species. The Aquatic Gardener 8:5/95.
  • Jacobsen, Niels. 1992. The Cryptocoryne of the Malay Peninsula, pt. 1. The Aquatic Gardener 5:3/92.
  • James, Barry. 1986. A Fishkeeper's Guide To Aquarium Plants. Salamander Books, UK.. 117 pp.
  • Gasser, Robert A. 1978. Cryptocoryne retrospiralis. FAMA 2/78.
  • Gasser, Robert A. 1978. Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia. FAMA 11/78.
  • Gasser, Robert A. 1979. Cryptocoryne tonkinensis. FAMA 3/79.
  • Gasser, Robert A. 1979. Cryptocoryne striolata. FAMA 6/79.
  • Gasser, Robert A. & James H. 1985. Some interesting and rare Cryptocorynes. FAMA 2/85.
  • De Graaf, Arie. 1987. The occurrence of Cryptocoryne (Araceae) on Sri Lanka. FAMA 11/87.
  • Greger, Bernd. 1987. Artificial pollination of Cryptocorynes. Today's Aquarium 2/87.
  • Kane, Michael. 1993. Tissue culture propagation of Cryptocoryne species. The Aquatic Gardener 6:5/93.
  • Mohlmann, Friedrich. 1976. Cryptocorynes in small aquariums. Aquarium Digest Intl. 4:1/76.
  • Mohlmann, Friedrich. 1977. Cryptocoryne cross breeding. Aquarium Digest Intl. #16, 1977.
  • Mohlmann, Friedrich. 1985. A worthwhile Crypt. Cryptocoryne zewaldiea De Wit. Today's Aquarium 2/85.
  • Mohlmann, Friedrich. 1987. Cryptocorynes grown emerse. Today's Aquarium. 4/87.
  • Mohlmann, Friedrich. 1988. An exciting find- Cryptocoryne villosa. TFH 12/88.
  • Mohlmann, Friedrich. 1989. A useful aquarium plant: Cryptocoryne moehlmannii. TFH 1/89.
  • Mohlmann, Friedrich. 1991. The Spiral Water Trumpet (Cryptocoryne spiralis). TFH 4/91.
  • Pon, Richard T. 1992. Cryptocoryne usteriana. The Aquatic Gardener 5:1/92
  • Radford, Albert E. 1986. Fundamentals of Plant Systematics. Harper & Row, NY. 498 pp.
  • Randall, Karen A. Cryptocorynes. This may be the premier aquarium plant. AFM 10/95.
  • Randall, Karen. 2000. Cryptocoryne, Family Araceae. Aquarium Frontiers 1/00.
  • Rataj, Karel. 1976. Something about Cryptocoryne. TFH 5/76.
  • Rataj, Karel. 1988. Cryptocoryne siamensis: An enigmatic aquarium plant. TFH 8/88.
  • Rataj, K., 1975. Revision of the genus Cryptocoryne Fischer. Studie CSAV, c.3.Praha.
  • Raven, Peter H., Ray F. Evert and Helena Curtis. 1976 2d ed.. Biology of Plants. Worth Publishers, Inc., NY. 685 pp.
  • Riehl, Rudiger & Hans A. Baensch. 1987. Aquarium Atlas, v. 1. MERGUS, Germany. 992 pp.
  • Riehl, Rudiger & Hans A. Baensch, 1996. Aquarium Atlas, v. 3. MERGUS, Germany. 1103 pp.
  • Roe, Colin D. 1967. A Manual of Aquarium Plants. Shirley Aquatics, England. 111 pp.
  • Spiers, Dale. 1989. The genus Cryptocoryne (Araceae): Rolls-Royce of the aquatic plant world. The Aquarium Gardener 3:2/89.
  • Spiers, Dale. 1991. Cryptocoryne affinis (Araceae). The Aquatic Gardener 4:2/91.
  • Stewart, Emmit. 1992. What kind of shade? Pt.1 The Aquatic Gardener 5:6/92.
  • Stodola, Jiri. 1967. Encyclopedia of Water Plants. T. F. H. Publications, NJ. 368 pp.
  • Tomey, Wim A. 1969. Cryptocoryne lingua. The Aquarium 7/69.
  • Van Hyfte, Dick. 1986. Some help with difficult crypts. The Aquatic Gardener 2:2/86.
  • Wendt, A., 1955. Etwas über richtige und falsche Namen unserer Cryptocorynen. DATZ 8 : 236–240.
  • Wendt, A., 1955. Cryptocoryne nevillii, undulata und willisii. Aq.& Terr. 3 : 151–154.
  • Wendt, A., 1956. Cryptocoryne undulata Wendt, Cryptocoryne willisii Engler ex Baum. Het Aquarium 26(9): 207–208.
  • Wendt, A., 1958. Die Gattung Cryptocoryne Fischer. Die Aquariumpflanzen in Wort und Bild (1952–1958). Stuttgart.
  • De Wit, H. C. D., 1975. Cryptocoryne alba de Wit (nov. sp.) en Cryptocoryne bogneri de Wit (nov. sp.). Het Aquarium 45(12): 326–327.
  • De Wit, H. C. D., 1990. Aquarienpflanzen, 2. Auflage. Ulmer, Stuttgart. ISBN 3-8001-7185-6.
  • Amano, Takashi, Cryptocoryne Layout Technique, The Aquatic Gardener – Vol. 19 No. 2 Apr–Jun 2006
  • Jacobsen, Niels, The Cryptocoryne of the Malay Peninsula – Part 1 – The Aquatic Gardener – Vol. 5 No. 3 May–Jun 1992
  • Jacobsen, Niels, The Cryptocoryne of the Malay Peninsula, Part 2 – The Aquatic Gardener – Vol. 5 No. 4. Jul–Aug 1992
  • Jacobsen, Niels, Cultivation of Some Difficult Cryptocoryne Species in Humus-Rich Beech Leaf-Mould – The Aquatic Gardener – Vol. 5 No. 5 Sep–Oct 1992
  • Jacobsen, Niels, The Narrow Leaved Cryptocoryne of Mainland Asia – The Aquatic Gardener – Vol. 8 No. 3 May–Jun 1995
  • Jacobsen, Niels, Tha Pom Klong Song Nam – a wonderful locality for Cryptocoryne ciliata in south Thailand – The Aquatic Gardener – Vol. 19 No. 2 Apr–Jun 2006
  • Jacobsen, N., 1976. Notes on Cryptocoryne of Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Bot. Notiser 129 : 179–190.
  • Jacobsen, N., 1977. Zytologie und Taxonomie der Cryptocorynen Sri Lankas. AquaPlanta 4–77 : 3–8.
  • Jacobsen, N., 1977. Chromosome numbers and taxonomy in Cryptocoryne (Araceae). Bot. Notiser 130 : 71–87.
  • Jacobsen, N., 1981. Cryptocoryne undulata Wendt und Bemerkungen zu andere Arten. AquaPlanta 2–81 : 31–38.
  • Jacobsen, N., 1981. Cryptocoryne undulata Wendt und Bemerkungen zu anderen Arten – ein Nachtrag. AquaPlanta 4–81 : 92–94.
  • Jacobsen, N., 1982. Cryptocorynen. Alfred Kernen Verlag, Stuttgart.

External links[edit]