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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

Myrioblastus Wall. ex Griff.

Cryptocoryne (water trumpet) is a genus of aquatic monocot plants from the family Araceae (arums). The genus is naturally distributed in tropical regions of Asia and New Guinea.[1][2]

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.

  1. Cryptocoryne affinis N.E.Br. in J.D.Hooker - Thailand, Malaysia
  2. Cryptocoryne alba de Wit - Sri Lanka
  3. Cryptocoryne albida R.Parker - southern China, eastern India, Bangladesh, Indochina
  4. Cryptocoryne annamica Serebryanyi - Vietnam
  5. Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia Merr. - Philippines
  6. Cryptocoryne auriculata Engl. - Sarawak, Palawan, Mindanao
  7. Cryptocoryne bangkaensis Bastm. - Sumatra
  8. Cryptocoryne beckettii Thuill. ex Trim. - Sri Lanka; naturalized in Texas
  9. Cryptocoryne bogneri Rataj - Sri Lanka
  10. Cryptocoryne bullosa Becc. - Sarawak
  11. Cryptocoryne ciliata (Roxb.) Schott - India, Bangladesh, Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea
  12. Cryptocoryne cognata Schott - India
  13. Cryptocoryne consobrina Schott - India
  14. Cryptocoryne cordata Griff. - Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Java
  15. Cryptocoryne coronata Bastm. & Wijng. - Philippines
  16. Cryptocoryne crispatula Engl. southern China, northeastern India, Bangladesh
  17. Cryptocoryne cruddasiana Prain - Myanmar
  18. Cryptocoryne decus-silvae de Wit - Malaysia
  19. Cryptocoryne dewitii'' N.Jacobsen - Papua New Guinea
  20. Cryptocoryne edithiae de Wit - Kalimantan
  21. Cryptocoryne elliptica N.E.Br. - Malaysia
  22. Cryptocoryne ferruginea Engl. - Sarawak
  23. Cryptocoryne fusca de Wit - Borneo
  24. Cryptocoryne griffithii Schott - Kalimantan, Peninsular Malaysia
  25. Cryptocoryne hudoroi Bogner & N.Jacobsen - Kalimantan
  26. Cryptocoryne ideii Budianto - Kalimantan
  27. Cryptocoryne jacobsenii de Wit - Sumatra
  28. Cryptocoryne keei N.Jacobsen - Sarawak
  29. Cryptocoryne lingua Becc. ex Engl - Sarawak
  30. Cryptocoryne loeiensis Bastm., T.Idei & N.Jacobsen - Laos, Thailand
  31. Cryptocoryne longicaudaBecc. ex Engl. - Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra
  32. Cryptocoryne mekongensis T.Idei, Bastm. & N.Jacobsen - Laos, Thailand
  33. Cryptocoryne minima Ridl. - Malaysia, Sumatra
  34. Cryptocoryne moehlmannii de Wit - Sumatra
  35. Cryptocoryne nevillii Trimen - Sri Lanka
  36. Cryptocoryne noritoi Wongso - Kalimantan
  37. Cryptocoryne nurii Furtado - Peninsular Malaysia
  38. Cryptocoryne pallidinervia Engl. - Borneo
  39. Cryptocoryne parva de Wit- Sri Lanka
  40. Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia Schott - Sumatra
  41. Cryptocoryne purpurea Ridl. - Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo
  42. Cryptocoryne pygmaea Merr. - Philippines
  43. Cryptocoryne retrospiralis (Roxb.) Kunth - Bangladesh, India, Myanmar
  44. Cryptocoryne schulzei de Wit - Johor
  45. Cryptocoryne scurrilis de Wit - Sumatra
  46. Cryptocoryne sivadasanii Bogner - southern India
  47. Cryptocoryne spiralis (Retz.) Fisch. ex Wydler - Bangladesh, India
  48. Cryptocoryne striolata Engl. - Borneo
  49. Cryptocoryne tambraparaniana Rajakumar, P.Daniel, Selvak., S.Murug. & Chellap. - Tamil Nadu
  50. Cryptocoryne thwaitesii Schott - Sri Lanka
  51. Cryptocoryne × timahensis Bastm. - Singapore (C. cordata × C. nurii)
  52. Cryptocoryne uenoi Yuji Sasaki - Sarawak
  53. Cryptocoryne undulata Wendt - Sri Lanka
  54. Cryptocoryne usteriana Engl. - Philippines
  55. Cryptocoryne versteegii Engl. - New Guinea
  56. Cryptocoryne vietnamensis I.Hertel & H.Mühlberg - Vietnam
  57. Cryptocoryne villosa N.Jacobsen - Sumatra
  58. Cryptocoryne walkeri Schott - Sri Lanka
  59. Cryptocoryne wendtii de Wit - Sri Lanka
  60. Cryptocoryne x willisii Reitz - Sri Lanka (C. parva × C. walkeri)
  61. Cryptocoryne yujii Bastm. - Sarawak
  62. Cryptocoryne zaidiana Ipor & Tawan - Sarawak
  63. Cryptocoryne zukalii Rataj - Peninsular Malaysia

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.[3]

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.[4] 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[5] 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)


  1. ^ a b c Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Ipor, I.B., Tawan, C.S., Abai, J., Saupi, N. & Meekiong, K. (2009). Notes on occurrence and distribution of Cryptocoryne species in Sarawak, Malaysia. Folia Malaysiana 10: 115-138.
  3. ^ The Global Invasive Species Initiative
  4. ^ Cryptocoryne affinis leaf drop
  5. ^ "Howto cultivate Crypts". 
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  • Clark, Robert. 1991. Flower and seed production in Cryptocoryne. The Aquatic Gardener 4:1/91.
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  • Gasser, Robert A. 1978. Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia. FAMA 11/78.
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  • Gasser, Robert A. 1979. Cryptocoryne striolata. FAMA 6/79.
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External links[edit]