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Cryptocoryne wendtii Green.jpg
Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Green'
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Cryptocoryneae
Genus: Cryptocoryne
Fisch. ex Wydler

Myrioblastus Wall. ex Griff.

Cryptocoryne 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 aura - West kalimantan
  7. Cryptocoryne auriculata Engl. - Sarawak, Palawan, Mindanao
  8. Cryptocoryne bangkaensis Bastm. - Sumatra
  9. Cryptocoryne beckettii Thuill. ex Trim. - Sri Lanka; naturalized in Texas
  10. Cryptocoryne bogneri Rataj - Sri Lanka
  11. Cryptocoryne bullosa Becc. - Sarawak
  12. Cryptocoryne ciliata (Roxb.) Schott - India, Bangladesh, Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea
  13. Cryptocoryne cognata Schott - India
  14. Cryptocoryne consobrina Schott - India
  15. Cryptocoryne cordata Griff. - Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Java
  16. Cryptocoryne coronata Bastm. & Wijng. - Philippines
  17. Cryptocoryne crispatula Engl. southern China, northeastern India, Bangladesh
  18. Cryptocoryne cruddasiana Prain - Myanmar
  19. Cryptocoryne decus-silvae de Wit - Malaysia
  20. Cryptocoryne dewitii'' N.Jacobsen - Papua New Guinea
  21. Cryptocoryne edithiae de Wit - Kalimantan
  22. Cryptocoryne elliptica N.E.Br. - Malaysia
  23. Cryptocoryne ferruginea Engl. - Sarawak
  24. Cryptocoryne fusca de Wit - Borneo
  25. Cryptocoryne griffithii Schott - Kalimantan, Peninsular Malaysia
  26. Cryptocoryne hudoroi Bogner & N.Jacobsen - Kalimantan
  27. Cryptocoryne ideii Budianto - Kalimantan
  28. Cryptocoryne jacobsenii de Wit - Sumatra
  29. Cryptocoryne keei N.Jacobsen - Sarawak
  30. Cryptocoryne lingua Becc. ex Engl - Sarawak
  31. Cryptocoryne loeiensis Bastm., T.Idei & N.Jacobsen - Laos, Thailand
  32. Cryptocoryne longicaudaBecc. ex Engl. - Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra
  33. Cryptocoryne mekongensis T.Idei, Bastm. & N.Jacobsen - Laos, Thailand
  34. Cryptocoryne minima Ridl. - Malaysia, Sumatra
  35. Cryptocoryne moehlmannii de Wit - Sumatra
  36. Cryptocoryne nevillii Trimen - Sri Lanka
  37. Cryptocoryne noritoi Wongso - Kalimantan
  38. Cryptocoryne nurii Furtado - Peninsular Malaysia
  39. Cryptocoryne pallidinervia Engl. - Borneo
  40. Cryptocoryne parva de Wit- Sri Lanka
  41. Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia Schott - Sumatra
  42. Cryptocoryne purpurea Ridl. - Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo
  43. Cryptocoryne pygmaea Merr. - Philippines
  44. Cryptocoryne retrospiralis (Roxb.) Kunth - Bangladesh, India, Myanmar
  45. Cryptocoryne schulzei de Wit - Johor
  46. Cryptocoryne scurrilis de Wit - Sumatra
  47. Cryptocoryne sivadasanii Bogner - southern India
  48. Cryptocoryne spiralis (Retz.) Fisch. ex Wydler - Bangladesh, India
  49. Cryptocoryne striolata Engl. - Borneo
  50. Cryptocoryne tambraparaniana Rajakumar, P.Daniel, Selvak., S.Murug. & Chellap. - Tamil Nadu
  51. Cryptocoryne thwaitesii Schott - Sri Lanka
  52. Cryptocoryne × timahensis Bastm. - Singapore (C. cordata × C. nurii)
  53. Cryptocoryne uenoi Yuji Sasaki - Sarawak
  54. Cryptocoryne undulata Wendt - Sri Lanka
  55. Cryptocoryne usteriana Engl. - Philippines
  56. Cryptocoryne versteegii Engl. - New Guinea
  57. Cryptocoryne vietnamensis I.Hertel & H.Mühlberg - Vietnam
  58. Cryptocoryne villosa N.Jacobsen - Sumatra
  59. Cryptocoryne walkeri Schott - Sri Lanka
  60. Cryptocoryne wendtii de Wit - Sri Lanka
  61. Cryptocoryne x willisii Reitz - Sri Lanka (C. parva × C. walkeri)
  62. Cryptocoryne yujii Bastm. - Sarawak
  63. Cryptocoryne zaidiana Ipor & Tawan - Sarawak
  64. 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]

Crypts are either found in peat bogs or on limestone; the latter do well in most aquaria, the former must have soft slightly water to survive and need decomposing beech leaf litter to do well. C. striolata while found primarily in peat bogs has also been found growing on limestone. Borneo is home to many endemic crypts previously thought to grow only in tea-colored soft acid water emulating peat bogs but exploration of habitats from 2005 to 2010 showed about half grew on limestone. These hardwater 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 tolerate low or bright light but grow faster in more intense light, a temperature range of around 20 to 33 °C, and slightly alkaline to neutral pH.

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. pallidnerva, 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. There is great diversity in the appearance of these flowers in large species complexes however, within the C. cordata complex, C. cordata grabowski has been found with flowers that are yellow, yellow with a purple ring, and off-white all in the same cluster of plants in a river. The idea crypt species can be only be identified by the flower it no longer to be held as true and DNA testing is now used as well to supply additional evidence, especially useful now that we are aware of the many natural hybrid species of Cryptocoryne.

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 Archived 2006-04-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Cryptocoryne affinis leaf drop
  5. ^ "Howto cultivate Crypts". 
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External links[edit]