by Jan D. Bastmeijer ~ 2016
Suwidji Wongso & Co.
These pages are on the cultivation and taxonomy of plants of the genus Cryptocoryne & Lagenandra (Araceae)
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Cryptocoryne lingua Engler


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The limb of the spathe of Cryptocoryne lingua has a broad opened yellow throat with distinct red dots. The top of the limb is narrow ( a tail ) and is mostly opened in the lower part.
coll. hort., cult B 602
C. lingua has even green leaves without any spur of purple. It grows in the freshwater tidal zone of Sarawak. The inflorescence has a short tail, which bend forward after some days.
coll. hort., cult B 602
A, by Niels Jacobsen cultivated C. lingua. The tail is opened to its very end. The  red upper part of the limb has a strong contrast to the yellow lower part.
coll. hort., cult. NJ 2614
photo Jacobsen
A very nice by Tom Barr cultivated C. lingua. Note the bending tail, what usually happens after a couple of days. The tube is relative stongly twisted.
coll. hort., cult. Barr
photo Barr

A length section of the lower part of the tube (the kettle). Note that the top of the spadix is free from the wall (unusual) and is a bit displaced. Inside the tube upwards there are fine red dots.
coll. hort., cult B 602
After pollination, the female flowers form a fruit. It ripens slowly in a couple of months and the peduncle grows out to more than 5 cm (2"). Reinhard Eichner is able to have these plants selfpollinated!
coll. hort., cult. Eichner
photo Eichner
Opened fruit, showing the five parts containing the seeds.In this case there are very few seeds, mostly you might expect around 20 seeds. Note the length grooves on the seed.
coll. hort., cult. Eichner
photo Eichner

A wild collected C. lingua from Sarawak by Niels Jacobsen in 1978. Note the moist paper. The plants are wrapped in it and packed in a plastic bag. Its eassily hold for two weeks.
coll. NJ 7840, cult B 315
Habitus of C. lingua with spoon shaped leaves. The top of the leave is often almost rounded. Note the bud with a twisted top between the leaves.
drawing Ike Zewald
Engler described C. lingua in 1879 from material collected by Odoardo Beccari, the famous Italian collector. Beccari's collections are in Florence, where is 'his' museum.
drawing Pohl/Engler
Engler described another plant collected by Beccari as C. spathulata. The plant has a distinct cordata base of the leave (also seen in C. versteegii). Most authors regard this name as a synonym of C. lingua.
drawing Pohl/Engler
Distribution of C. lingua in Sarawak (Borneo). There are some well known localities, see f.e. Horst and Schulze. Jacobsen (1980) put some more details on the freshwater tidal zone as a 'nice' for some Crypts.

Cryptocoryne lingua grows in Sarawak, Borneo. The plant has a striking resemblance in the vegetative parts to C. versteegii, the latter however originates from New Guinea. Chromosome numbers are different, 2n = 36 for C. lingua and for C. versteegii 2n = 34 and (of course) the inflorescence. Nevertheless it would be interesting to see the variation in C. lingua.
Reports on cultivation are very diverse. Most growers report that C. lingua is difficult to grow on the long term. But for example, Munich Botanical Gardens maintains a container of one square meter, full with C. lingua, for years. They use pure loam as substrate. Some aquarists easily grow them submersed for years but others cannot keep them alive for a month.

Updated January 2001


  • Arends, J.C., Bastmeijer, J.D. & Jacobsen, N.,1982. Chromosome numbers and taxonomy in Cryptocoryne (Araceae).II. Nord.J.Bot. 2 : 453-463.
  • Beccari, O., 1882. Aracee della Malesia e della Papuasia raccolte da O.Beccari..Malesia 1 : 296-300, Plate 27-28. (Document service)
  • Crusio, W.E., 1979. Een aparte Crypto: Cryptocoryne lingua Beccari ex Engler 1879. Het Aquarium 50(3) : 61-63.
  • Engler, A., 1879. Cryptocoryne Fischer. Bull.Soc.Tosc.Ortic. 4 : 301-302. (Document service)
  • Engler, A., 1920. (Cryptocoryne in:) Das Pflanzenreich IV.23.F. Araceae - Aroideae : 232-249, Leipzig. (Document service)
  • Graaf,, 1980. Cryptocoryne ferruginea Engler of Cryptocoryne sarawacensis (Rataj) Jacobsen. Het Aquarium 50(11) : 299.
  • Horst, K., 1981. Sind die Cryptocorynen aus Borneo für Aquarien geeignet ? II. Aqua-Planta 4-81 : 87-91.
  • Horst, K., 1986. Pflanzen im Aquarium. Ulmer, Stuttgart.
  • Jacobsen, N., 1977. Chromosome numbers and taxonomy in Cryptocoryne (Araceae). Bot.Notiser 130 : 71-87.
  • Jacobsen, N., 1980. Does Cryptocoryne ferruginea flower at full moon ? Aroideana Vol 3/4 : 111-116.
  • Jacobsen, N., 1982. Cryptocorynen. Cryptocorynen, Alfred Kernen Verlag, Stuttgart.
  • Jacobsen, N., 1985. The Cryptocoryne (Araceae) of Borneo. Nord.J.Bot. 5 : 31-50.
  • Jacobsen, N., 1986. Deterioration of the habitats of the Cryptocoryne species. Symp.Bedreiging van het aquatisch milieu, Ludwigia, Wageningen : 33 (see Document service).
  • Kasselmann, C., 1995. Aquarienpflanzen. Ulmer, Stuttgart.
  • Legro, R.A.H., 1967. Raadsels rond Lingua. Het Aquarium 38(1) : 7-9.
  • Merrill, E.D., 1921. A Bibliographic Enumeration of Bornean Plants. Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 106-109.
  • Möhlmann, F., 1980. Warum gedeihen einige Cryptocoryne Arten nur schlecht oder auch gar nicht in unser Aquarium ? Aqua-Planta 2-80 : 11-12.
  • Mühlberg, H., 1980. Das grosse Buch der Wasserpflanzen. Dausien, Hanau.
  • 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., 1905. The Aroids of Borneo. J.Str.Br.Roy.As.Soc. 44 : 169-171.
  • Roe, C.D., 1967. A manual of aquarium plants. Shirley aquatics Ltd.
  • Sadilek, V., 1967. Neue Cryptocorynen II : Cryptocoryne lingua Beccari ex Engler. DATZ 20 : 181-182.
  • Schulze, J., 1967. Beobachtungen über Wasserpflanzen in einigen südostasiatischen Ländern I-IV. DATZ 20 : 211-215, 248-252, 279-282.
  • Schulze, J., 1971. Cryptocorynen aus Sarawak I-IV. DATZ 24 : 230-233, 267-270, 303-306.
  • Vlugt, P.J.van der, 1969. Cryptocoryne lingua in bloei. Het Aquarium 39(9) : 200-201.
  • Wit,, 1990. Aquarienpflanzen, 2. Auflage. Ulmer, Stuttgart.
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