Scientific name

Cryptocoryne Fischer ex Wydler

Common names




Native distribution

southeastern Asia, from India to Papua New Guinea

Species cultivated

Numerous species, although many rarely cultivated if they are threatened in the wild, rarely encountered, or difficult to maintain.

Cryptocoryne affinis N.E.Br.

C. albida R. Parker [also offered under the synonym C. costata Gagnep.]

Cryptocoryne amicorum de Wit & N.Jacobsen [synonym of C. minima Ridl.]

C. aponogetifolia Merr.

C. blassii de Wit [unresolved]

C. beckettii Thuill. ex Trim. [also offered under the synonym C. petchii Alston]

C. bullosa Becc.

C. ciliata (Roxb.) Fisch. ex Wydler

C. cordata Griff. [also offered under the synonym C. siamensis Gagnep.]

C. crispatula var. balansae (Gagnep.) N. Jacobsen [also offered under the synonym C. balansae Gagnep.]

C. fusca de Wit

C. hudoroi Bogner & N.Jacobsen

C. ideii Budianto

C. lingua Becc. ex Engl.

C. moehlmannii de Wit

C. nevelii Trimen

C. noritoi Wongso

C. nurii Furtado

C. parva de Wit

C. pontederiifolia Schott

C. x purpurea Ridl.

C. pygmaea Merr.

C. retrospiralis (Roxb.) Kunth

C. spiralis (Retz.) Fisch. ex Wydler

C. striolata Engl.

C. tonkinensis Gagnep. [synonym of C. crispatula var. tonkinensis (Gagnep.) N. Jacobsen]

C. undulata Wendt

C. usteriana Engl.

C. walkeri Schott [also offered under the synonyms C. legroi de Wit and C. lutea Alston]

C. wendtii de Wit

C. x willisii Reitz [also offered under the synonym C. x lucens de Wit]

Adventive distribution

Cryptocoryne beckettii is recorded as established in the San Marcos River (Texas), C. wendtii is recorded as established in Rainbow Springs in Florida, and C. walkeri Schott is introduced in Florida (all United States).

Weed status

not weedy


creeping, rhizomatous, amphibious rosette plant

Brief description

Perennial. Creeping, rhizomatous, often developing smaller plantlets from lateral rhizomes. 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

A genus of 60 species, 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 identification 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.