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

In the current opinion, the cordata group consist of 4 varieties (Jacobsen 2002, Othman et al. 2009, Bastmeijer et al. 2010): Cryptocoryne cordata var. cordata from the Malay peninsula (W. Malaysia and the very south of Thailand), C. cordata var. siamensis with also the cultivar 'Rosanervig' from peninsula Thailand. C. cordata var. grabowskii from Borneo and C. cordata var. diderici from Sumatra. C. cordata var. zonata is interpreted as a synonym of C. cordata var. grabowskii in the Crypts pages.
Looking at the Synonyms page, it is clear that there was much debate on the taxonomical status of Cryptocoryne cordata. From C. cordata var. cordata and var. grabowskii is also known that they hybridise with C. griffithii and probably more species, making the picture rather complicated. New investigations may reveal that the status in the future will change again. The current status gives a clear geographical delimitation what is also supported by their chromosome numbers.

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Broad green, cordate leaves (hand size), lower side pale green to reddish, sometimes with red veins. Normally submerged in the peat swamp. Spathe 20+ cm with a bright yellow limb.
coll. Scholler, cult. B1251
Chromosome number 2n = 34

Habitat is not well known, probably also a peat swamp. Leaves ovate. Spathe ca. 10 cm with yellow throat and a very rough, yellow to deep red limb of the spathe.
coll. Kishi09-01, cult. B1296
Chromosome number 2n = ±102
Broad green, cordate leaves (hand size), but also smaller plants exist, some forms have strong bullate leaves. Normally submerged in the peat swamp. Spathe 20+ cm with a yellow throat, often with red dots. The limb varies from bright yellow to deep red.
coll. B-06, cult. B1003
Chromosome number 2n = 68

Ovate to narrow ovate leaves, dark green to deep brown with a pale green to deep red lower side. Mostly submerged in streams on a limestone bottom. Spathe ca. 10 cm with a yellow throat and a more rough yellow limb, often with dark brown margins. C. cordata var. siamensis 'Rosanervig', a cultivar originating probably from Thailand.
coll. unknown, cult. B 17
Chromosome number 2n = 102


Cultivating of the var. siamensis is easy in a 'standard' hard water aquarium. The other var's need to have a loose substrate of acid leaf letter, for example from the beech tree (Fagus silvatica) in Western Europe. The pH may go down to 4. But other trees may be also appropriate.

Reported hybrids are C. ×purpurea nothovar. purpurea, with var. cordata from W. Malaysia and
C. ×purpurea nothovar. borneoensis with var. grabowskii from Borneo, both with C. griffithii as the other parent.

Updated January 2016


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Jacobsen, N. & D. Sookchaloem, 2010. Cryptocoryne in the Flora of Thailand.

Jacobsen, N. & J.D. Bastmeijer, 2014. On Cryptocoryne coradata var. siamensis. The Aquatic Gardener 27(2) : 28-39. (Document service)
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