Scientific name

Cryptocoryne Fischer ex Wydler

Common names




Could be confused with

Aponogeton, Lagenandra

Native distribution

southeastern Asia, from India to Papua New Guinea

Species commonly cultivated

Cryptocoryne affinis Hook. f. (Malaysia)

C. albida R. Parker (Burma, Thailand)

C. aponogetifolia Merr. (Philippines)

C. beckettii Thwaites ex Trimen (Sri Lanka)

C. ciliata (Roxb.) Schott (India to Papua New Guinea)

C. cordata Griff. (Thailand to Indonesia)

C. crispatula Engl. var. balansae (Gagnepain) N. Jacobsen (India to China and Thailand)

C. lingua Engl. (Indonesia to Papua New Guinea)

C. parva de Wit (Sri Lanka)

C. pontederiifolia Schott (Indonesia)

C. retrospiralis (Roxb.) Kunth (India)

C. spiralis (Retz.) Wydler (India, Bangladesh)

C. walkeri Schott (Sri Lanka)

C. wendtii de Wit (Sri Lanka)

C. x willisii Reitz (Sri Lanka)

Adventive distribution

Cryptocoryne beckettii is recorded as established in the San Marcos River (Texas), while C. wendtii is recorded as established in Rainbow Springs in Florida (both United States).

Weed status

not considered weedy


amphibious rosette plant

Brief description

Perennial. Creeping, rhizomatous, often developing runners. Leaves in a rosette, distinctly heterophyllous between emersed and submersed growth forms; leaf blade convolute in bud (cf. Lagenandra), linear to cordate but highly variable in shape, size and coloration, sometimes bullate or undulate; margin entire. Inflorescence a very short spadix, enclosed in the dilated base (kettle) of the tubular spathe; limb of spathe ovate to elongate, occasionally twisted.

Natural habitat

found in a variety of tropical riverine or swamp habitats, adapted to fluctuating water levels during seasonal flooding and drought

Additional comments

At least 50 species in the genus, but only about a dozen species commonly traded in the industry. Typically delicate, slow growing plants that may spontaneously rot when conditions change suddenly. Cultivated either submersed or emersed. Frequently tissue cultured. High degree of polyploidy between some species, combined with a high degree of phenotypic variation has made the taxonomy of this genus problematic. Accurate identifications of most species can only be confirmed by examining flowers. A high level of localized endemism has made some species endangered in their native range due to human development and over-collecting for the aquarium trade.