Cryptocoryne crispatula Engler var. flaccidifolia N. Jacobsen

It is not always easy to identify Cryptocoryne crispatula var. flaccidifolia. The difference with C. crispatula var. balansae it more or less a matter of the width of the leaves, and as there is some natural variation in nature one could discuss which name is appropriate. That means that only the extremes are named. Both have soft, waving leaves, adapted for submerged growth, with only the spathe coming out of the water. Up to now the plant is only known from peninsula Thailand. Collections from N Vietnam and S China are now referred to C. crispatula var. tonkinensis. The 'old aquarium tonkinensis' got a new name: C. crispatula var. kubotae.

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A slow flowing stream near Khlong Sok, Thailand.
coll. NJTx
photo Jacobsen
A dense mat of C. crispatula var. flaccidifolia in peninsula Thailand.
coll. NJT 02-04
photo Jacobsen
Between the cascades, the water level in the rivers is also in the dry season rather constant.
coll. NJT 02-09
photo Jacobsen
Var. flaccidifolia is shallow water near Kapong
coll. NJTx,
photo Jacobsen
       
Low water and the banks falls dry. The leaves may survive.
coll. NJT 02-04
photo Jacobsen
On the banks near Kapong you see flowering var. flaccidifolia.
coll. NJTx
photo Jacobsen
Plants on the same rhizome, the left submerged, the right one emerged
coll. NJTx
photo Jacobsen
The flaccid leaves of a submerged growing plant.
coll. NJT 02-04
photo Jacobsen
       
The spathe of C. crispatula var. flaccidifolia has a long tube (to reach the water surface) and a more or less dense striped or dotted, twisted limb.
coll. NJT Tam Nang
photo Jacobsen
A collection of spathe's from the peninsula Thailand.
coll. NJT 02-04
photo Jacobsen
Aquarium picture of C. crispatula var. flaccidifolia
coll. unknown, cult. Gasser
photo Gasser
An emerged grown C. crispatula var. flaccidifolia showing the soft, down bent leaves.
coll. unknown, cult. NJ 2984
photo Jacobsen
       
In emerged cultivation the plant has shorter, rather stiff leaves. The limb of the spathe (of this specimen) has only a few line markings.
coll. NJT 02-04, cult. B 898
The opened kettle showing the male (top) and the female flowers (bottom). Note the constriction of the upper part of the kettle.
coll. NJT 02-04, cult. B 898
Inside the circle of the female flowers you see the olfactory bodies.
coll. NJT 02-04, cult. B 898
Distribution of C. crispatula var. flaccidifolia. As the differences with var. balansae are relatively small, probably a couple of older collections must be added to var. flaccidifolia.
       

C. crispatula var. flaccidifolia is a good aquarium plant. Plants sold in the pet shops as C. retrospiralis probably all refer to C. crispatula var. flaccidifolia.

For reference to the other plants and the literature see the page on the crispatula-group.

Updated February 2016