by Jan D. Bastmeijer
 
These pages are on the cultivation and taxonomy of plants of the genus Cryptocoryne (Araceae)
 
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Cryptocoryne elliptica Hooker f.

In 1985, Jacobsen and Bogner were able to rediscover the tiny Cryptocoryne elliptica in the forest, West of Penang on the Malay peninsula. It grows in the swamps of the Pondok-Tanjung Forest Reserve, together with Cryptocoryne minima.

C. crispatula var. crispatula is a plant adapted to seasonal changes in water level, most extreme probably in the Mekong river where at some places the difference may be 5 - 10 meter! No light will pass the turbid water a that depth, the plants go dormant forming needle like (terete) leaves during the high water (see the C. loeiensis page for terete leaves). When the water resides they start growing again on the dried banks, fully exposed to the sun with surface temperatures over 40 C. They have stiff leaves, adapted for emergent growth.
In the rest of Thailand the conditions are not that extreme but in their flowering stage they always grow emerged.

Click on the picture to get the full image (ca. 50 kB)

A full grown, cultivated C. elliptica, growing in a beech tree litter substrate. Note the bent down top of the limb, a common feature in Cryptocoryne.
photo Jacobsen
A cultivated C. elliptica producing dozens of small spathes, but no one matures.
A striking difference in luxury growth due to substrate. In the pot a granite soil from Sweden, in the container a pure beech tree litter layer
photo Jacobsen
An abundantly flowering C. elliptica, cultivated in beech tree litter (the color of the picture is too bluish). Note the curved limbs of the spathe.
photo Jacobsen

       
Another picture of this very rare Cryptocoryne. Note again the typical twisted limb.
photo Jacobsen

A very special feature of C. elliptica is that it can propagate from a leave. See Jacobsen et al. (1989).
photo Jacobsen
A detailed drawing of C. elliptica is found in de Wit (1990).
drawing Ike Zewald

Distribution of C. elliptica in West Malaysia. The plant grows abundantly in the Pondok-Tanjung Forest Reserve.
       

Cryptocoryne elliptica is a difficult plant to grow. After a period of successes, the plants disappeared. Honors to Hans Erhl from Germany, who has a stable stock of it.

Updated August 2000

Literature
Bogner, J. & Jacobsen, N., 1986. Cryptocoryne elliptica Hooker f. Aqua-Planta 2-86 : 48-50.
Bogner, J. & Jacobsen, N., 1986. Cryptocoryne elliptica Hooker f. DATZ 39 : 523-524.
Bogner, J., 1995. Die systematische Stellung der Gattung Cryptocoryne (Araceae) und Bemerkungen zu einem neuen System der Araceae Aqua-Planta 4-95 : 152-159.
Engler, A., 1920. (Cryptocoryne, Lagenandra in) Das Pflanzenreich IV.23.F. Araceae - Aroideae : 232-249, Leipzig
Hooker, J.D., 1893. (Cryptocoryne, Lagenandra in) Flora of British India 6 : 492-496.
Jacobsen, N., 1982. Cryptocorynen. Alfred Kernen Verlag, Stuttgart.
Jacobsen, N., 1986. Deterioration of the habitats of the Cryptocoryne species. Symp.Bedreiging van het aquatisch milieu, Ludwigia, Wageningen : 33.
Jacobsen, N. & J.Bogner, 1986. Die Cryptocorynen der Malaiischen Halbinsel (1.Teil). Aqua-Planta 4-86 : 135-139.
Jacobsen, N., M.Sivadasan & J.Bogner, 1989. Ungewöhnliche vegetative Vermehrung bei der Gattung Cryptocoryne (Teil 1). Aqua-Planta 3-89 : 83-88.
Jacobsen, N., M.Sivadasan & J.Bogner, 1989. Ungewöhnliche vegetatieve Vermehrung bei der Gattung Cryptocoryne (Teil 2). Aqua-Planta 4-89 : 127-132.
Jacobsen, N., 1992. Die Kultur einiger schwieriger Cryptocoryne-Arten in Buchenlauberde. Aqua-Planta 1-92 : 18-25.
Mansor, M., M.Masnadi, 1994. Cryptocoryne elliptica, an endangered amphibious plant in Pondok-Tanjung Forest Reserve, Peninsular Malaysia. Aquatic Botany 47(1) : 91-96.
Mansor, M and B. Sulaiman, 1997. Notes on Araceae of the Pondok Tanjon Forest Reserve, Peninsular Malaysia (abstract). Tropical Biodiversity 4(2): 209-213.
Möhlmann, F., 1988. Ein interessanter Wasserkelch : Cryptocoryne elliptica Hooker f. Aqua-Planta 3-88 : 110-112.
Rataj, K., 1975. Revision of the genus Cryptocoryne Fischer. Studie CSAV, c.3.Praha.
Rataj, K. & Horeman, T.J., 1977. Aquarium Plants. TFH Publ, USA.
Ridley, H.N., 1907. Cryptocoryne, Fisch. Materials for a Flora of the Malayan Peninsula : 3-6.
Ridley, H.N., 1925. Cryptocoryne. Fl. Malay Pen. 5 : 86-88.
Wit, H.C.D.de, 1961. Het genus Cryptocoryne (15), Cryptocoryne cruddasiana Prain en C. elliptica N.E. Brown. Het Aquarium 31(8) : 180-181.
Wit, H.C.D.de, 1990. Aquarienpflanzen, 2. Auflage. Ulmer, Stuttgart. ISBN 3-8001-7185-6.
 
 
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