Cryptocoryne keei N. Jacobsen

Probably, plants of the species Cryptocoryne keei were held as Cryptocoryne bullosa for many years in Europe. They were not recognized. In 1968, Vladimir Sadilek from Tsjechia wrote an article about C. bullosa (Sadilek, 1968). He mentions that newly imported plants were found at a 'secret' locality of the Ong family in Sarawak and actually he describes C. keei. Jacobsen states that Henry Ong from Kuching, the famous collector and tradesman in Sarawak from the 60s to the 80s, found this plant near Bau in Western Sarawak around 1978 (Jacobsen 1985). There were no inflorescences known of this species, but nobody worried about that. Till it was discovered that the chromosomal number of the plant proved to be 2n=20 in contrast to the expected value of 2n=34 for C. bullosa (Arends et al. 1982). When Ong collected a spathe after this discovery, it turned out to be a new species! The species is named in honor to Henry Ong Kee Chuan.

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Emersed cultivated plant of C. keei. Note the brown marmorated young leave.
coll. hort., cult. Möhlmann
photo Möhlmann
Hans Ehrenberg from Berlin flowered C. keei in culture. A length section of the kettle. Note the rather short spadix.
coll. hort., cult. Ehrenberg
photo Ehrenberg
Another by Ehrenberg cultivated plant. Note the small size of the spathe, ca 5 cm and the short leaves.
coll. hort., cult. Ehrenberg
photo Kasselmann
The limb has small red dots in the throat. The surface is quite rough and the top is like a twisted tail.
coll. hort., cult. Ehrenberg
photo Kasselmann
       
Imported specimen of C. keei. Note very dark green leaves. The lower part of the petioles are white, apparently they were deeply buried in the soil.
coll NJ 78-73, cult. B 309
Submersed grown, C. keei can develop bright brown spots on the leave: the vertical leave at left. Note that this is true color of the leave and not dirt. The leave at right is C. hudoroi.
coll. & cult. CK 69
photo Kettner
The same scene. The leave at the left background is almost brown. It belongs to C. keei.This is only known from cultivated plants. Leave blade about 10 cm long.
coll. & cult. CK 69
photo Kettner
Isotype of C. keei collected by Henry Ong, in the Wageningen Herbarium in the Netherlands.
Nationaal Herbarium Wageningen
       
Yuji Sasaki collected C. keei in December 1999. Plants flowered soon in Japan. Length of the spathe ca 8 cm.
coll. SS1
photo Sasaki
Limb of the spathe of C. keei. Note the tail and the fine red dots in the throat.
coll. SS1
photo Sasaki
A length section of the kettle. The color of the kettle wall is white in fact.
coll. SS1
photo Sasaki
The female flowers with rather long styles. As usual they bent down a few days after opening.
coll. SS1
photo Sasaki
       
A bank with submersed growing C. keei near Bau (Sarawak).  Note that some specimen grow emersed.
coll. SS1
photo Sasaki
Detail of the riverbank with C. keei. The plants are fully green.
coll. SS1
photo Sasaki
Jacobsen (1982) gives a drawing of C. keei. Apparently the limb is not 'tailed'.
drawing Marianne Krøjgaard
Distribution of C. keei West of Kuching (Sarawak).
       

Cryptocoryne keei was and is a surprise. In contrast to C. bullosa, this plant is rather easy to cultivate, even in a normal fish tank. To see the inflorescense, one has to cultivate the plants emersed. But it proved up to now extremely difficult. Hans Ehrenberg from Berlin succeeded after many years, cultivating the plant emersed.
Yuji Sasaki from Japan collected C. keei in December 1999. They were   flowering abundantly.
See also the pages on C. bullosa and C. hudoroi.

Updated February 2000

Literature:

Arends, J.C., Bastmeijer, J.D. & Jacobsen, N., 1982. Chromosome numbers and taxonomy in Cryptocoryne (Araceae).II. Nord.J.Bot. 2 : 453-463.
Bogner, J., 1989. Cryptocoryne hudoroi Bogner et Jacobsen. Aqua-Planta 1-89 : 12-16.
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.
Kasselmann, C., 1995. Aquarienpflanzen. Ulmer, Stuttgart.
Kettner, C., 1992. Bemerkungen zu einen natürlichen Standort von Cryptocoryne keei auf Borneo. Aqua-Planta 4-92 : 139.
Kettner, C., 1997. Cryptocorynen in Borneo. Aqua-Planta 22(3): 100-104.
Möhlmann, F., 1987. Cryptocoryne hudoroi Bogner et Jacobsen. Das Aquarium 219 : 479-480.
Sadilek, V., 1968. Neue Cryptocorynen IV : Cryptocoryne bullosa Becc. ex Engler. DATZ 21 : 274-277.
Wit, H.C.D.de, 1990. Aquarienpflanzen, 2. Auflage. Ulmer, Stuttgart. ISBN 3-8001-7185-6