The spathe consists of a lower cylindrical part, named the kettle, and an upper leaf blade which is cylindrical folded and closed with a seam. The latter forms the tube and the limb of the spathe. At ripening the upper part loosens and shows its attractive structure and colour: the limb of the spathe. Sometimes it happens that also the tube seam (partly) loosens. Besides its beauty, the limb also emits - depending on the species - a dirty smell. Depending on your nose, you may smell rotten fish or a dead horse.
The opening of the limb goes very fast. It happens in a quarter of an hour, at me mostly in the late night. See the MOVIE of the opening of the limb at C. spiralis var. spiralis
Click on the picture to enlarge, click on the NAME to go to the page
A schematic drawing of the spathe of a Cryptocoryne.
The three main parts (top down): limb, tube and kettle. See for the latter the page
'Inside the kettle'. Drawing after de Wit (1990)
A longitudinal section of the spathe of C. bangkaensis. The tube is ca, 10 cm long. Note the constricted opening at
the collar of the tube at the limb, this is seen in more species.
At some species the tube is almost missing. C. alba coll. PB-SRL4.4.05-01. cult B1189
A number of species has a "tail", a thread form elongation of the limb, in this species bend forward after opening. This tail is ca. 15 cm. C. longicauda coll. unknown, cult. W 21 photo van Wijngaarden
Many species have a twisted limb of the spathe. Both the left and right hand twist occurs. This is normal but almost nobody notices it. C. fusca coll. Tomey, cult. W 20 photo van Wijngaarden
This limb has many turns and it can be even more. C. retrospiralis coll. _FW I08-04, cult. B 1211