Cryptocoryne affinis Hooker f.

Cryptocoryne affinis is one of the 'classical' aquarium plants, the first reports go back to 1939 when the firm Haertel in Dresden, Germany, imported this new plant. In the 50s this plant became enormous popular at aquarists under the name C. haerteliana. During the 50s it turned out that this plant was already described as C. affinis. The mistake is easy to understand because probably nobody looked for it and maybe also because most herbarium specimens of the latter were from emersed growing plants, which are much smaller that the submersed grown plants.
In the past decades, plants from many localities in West Malaysia were collected, all a bit different. Some more brownish, others more bullated. However the 'classical' haerteliana with the pale veins, a deep green upper side and a wine red lower side is not found yet, but is still in cultivation. Now for more than 70 years!

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The 'classical' C. affinis in the aquarium with almost smooth, tall, green leaves.The upper side of the leaves may be dark velvet green with a pale midrib, the lower side deep purple. Spathe up to 40 cm with many turns.
coll. unknown
photo Möhlmann
A submersed cultivated Cryptocoryne affinis. Recent imports show these rather bullate leaves, sometimes misinterpreted as "C.(pseudo-)bullosa".
coll. unknown
photo Möhlmann
This giant leaved C. affinis popped up in Switzerland. With its bullated leaves it strongly resembles C. usteriana but it proved to be a real C. affinis.
coll. unknown, cult. B 1424
The giant leaved C. affinis in emersed cultivation. The leaves can be brownish and are relative big for an emersed grown C. affinis. All emersed grown plants are strongly bullate.
coll. unknown, cult. B 1424

 

Habitat of C. affinis

     
A stream near Jerantut in Pahang State, W. Malaysia in September. Note the very low water level.
coll. NJ 85-16
photo Jacobsen
A specimen from deeper water with a much longer tube of the spathe.
coll. NJ 85-16
photo Jacobsen
C. affinis grows partly emerged on the banks.
coll. NJ 85-11
photo Jacobsen
A stream of 6-8 m wide in a cut down oil palm plantation with big patches of C. affinis, partly in full sun.
coll. NJM 11-61
photo Jacobsen
       
South of Bentang in Pahang State, West Malaysia. In May, Sungai Perdak is a ca. 10 m wide river, C. affinis grows on the bank.
coll. B 805
In the riverbed grows C. affinis fully exposed to the sun. They form dark flecks near the rapid in the shallow, cloudy water. The very small specimens grow in dense mats together with some Hydrilla and Vallisneria.
coll. B 805
In more sheltered places C. affinis develops rather big leaves.
coll. B 805
Plants from the bank grow merely in clay. The plants are very deep rooted, the white part of the petioles were below surface.
coll. B 805
       
A full green specimen. In emersed culture the leaves are flat on the soil. The lower side mostly pale green with reddish veins.
coll. AZ210-6, cult. B 1357
The limb may have many turns.
coll. unknown, cult. B 1424
The collar is hidden in the spiraled limb. Note the stark reflective cells in the throat.
coll. unknown, cult. B 1424
When wet, the throat shows it real colour.
coll. B 805, cult. v Wijngaarden
photo van Wijngaarden
       
The top of the limb varies from smooth and cream with some red outgrowths ...
coll. AZ210-6, cult. B 1357
... to more rough and red coloured. The plants grow 20 km apart.
coll. AZ210-11, cult. B 1359
In the lower part of the spathe the greenish ovaries and brown stigma's.
coll. AZ210-11, cult. B 1359
A bit wider kettle with on top of the spadix the male flowers.
coll. AZ210-6, cult. B 1357
       
Note the very small cataphyl just right of the kettle.
coll. unknown, cult. B 1424
Type material collected by father Scortechini (nr. 586b) around 1890 in the Larut river (Pahang State, W. Malaysia).
Leiden Herbarium
Line drawing of C. affinis in de Wit (1959, 1990). Left a cultivated specimen of C. haerteliana; right top: Scortechini 586-2, down Corner 23893.
drawing Ike Zewald
Cryptocoryne affinis has a wide distribution in West Malaysia. There is one collection known from the very South of Thailand.
       

Cryptocoryne affinis grows in the runoff of limestone hills. It is an easy to cultivate plant in a sandy mixture with some peat litter and limestone. It propagates very well by runners. There are a few reports of a flowering C. affinis in the aquarium. Both the peduncle and the tube are elongated - whole spathe up to 40 cm, often the limb opens when still submersed. In emersed culture C. affinis is not easy to flower.

Updated May 2013

Literature.

Hooker, J.D., 1893. Cryptocoryne, Lagenandra in: Flora of British India 6 : 492-496.
Jacobsen, N.,1977. Chromosome numbers and taxonomy in Cryptocoryne (Araceae). Bot.Notiser 130 : 71-87.
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. (Documentservice)
Jacobsen, N. & J.Bogner, 1987. Die Cryptocorynen der Malaiischen Halbinsel (2.Teil). Aqua-Planta 1-87 : 13-20.
Jacobsen, N., T. Idei & D. Sookchaloem, 2012. Cryptocoryne in the Flora of Thaland, Volume 11, Part 2: 218-232, plates 45-58.
Kasselmann, C., 1995. Aquarienpflanzen. Ulmer, Stuttgart.
Mansor, M., Z. Yasin & A. Ali, 1990. Notes on the Distribution of Cryptocoryne affinis (Araceae) in Ulu Kinchin, Pahang, Malaysia. Malayan Nature Journal 43 : 256-258.
Mansor, M., E.Tan, H.Baharuddin, 1991. A "Hidden Club" in Taman Negara, Peninsular Malaysia. Malayan Naturalist 45(1/2) : 8.
Milkuhn, F.G.,1949. Cryptocoryne haerteliana Jacobs. spec. nova. Wochenschrift f Aq. u Terr.kunde 43 : 288-290.
Möhlmann, F., 1985. Eine empfehlenswerte Pflanze : Cryptocoryne affinis. Das Aquarium 192 : 284-286.
Möhlmann, F., 1985. Nicht alles ist Cryptocoryne bullosa was gebuckelte Blätter hat. Aqua-Planta 1-85 : 12-14.
Othman, A.S., N. Jacobsen & M. Mansor, 2008. Cryptocoryne of Peninsular Malaysia.
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.
Roe, C.D., 1967. A manual of aquarium plants. Shirley aquatics Ltd.
Sadilek, V., 1974. Problemen bij de cultuur van Cryptocorynen. Het Aquarium 45(*) : 61-63.
Schöpfel, H., 1967. Abnorme Blütenbildung bei C.affinis. Aq.& Terr (*) : 422.
Schöpfel, H., 1977. Cryptocoryne affinis N.E.Br.ex Hooker f. und Bemerkungen zur systematischen Darstellung von Cryptocoryne haerteliana und C.sp."pseudobullosa". Info ZAG Wasserpflanzen 4-1977 : 3 - 5.
Schulze, J., 1967. Beobachtungen über Wasserpflanzen in einigen südostasiatischen Ländern I-IV. DATZ 20 :11-215, 248-252, 279-282.
Vlugt, P.J.van der, 1969. Bullosa of 'pseudo-bullosa' ? Het Aquarium 40(2) : 37-40.
Wit, H.C.D.de, 1953. Cryptocoryne haerteliana Jacobs. ex Milk. Het Aquarium 24(2) : 41-43.
Wit, H.C.D.de, 1958. Cryptocoryne affinis. Fishkeeping, march 1958: 230.
Wit, H.C.D.de, 1959. Het genus Cryptocoryne 7. Cryptocoryne affinis. Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia. Het Aquarium 9(12) : 273-275.
Wit, H.C.D.de, 1990. Aquarienpflanzen, 2. Auflage. Ulmer, Stuttgart.