Cryptocoryne longicauda Engler

Cryptocoryne longicauda ("with the long tail") was collected by Odoardo Beccari in Sarawak and described by Engler in 1879. One year later, in 1880, N.E.Brown described C. caudata from Sarawak with deep bullate leaves and much later, 1920, Engler described C. johorensis from Johore (W.Malaysia) which are all regarded now to be synonyms of this species (Jacobsen 1982, 1985). Beccari only made a poor drawing of the inflorescence of C. longicauda, so the confusion is understandable. Around 1970 this species was also collected from Sumatra, so the distribution of this species is quite broad.
To make things completely crazy, around 1950 a new plant form Borneo was imported which resembled C. longicauda. In the Dutch and German literature until 1970 a couple of articles appeared on this species. This plant proved to be C. fusca (Bastmeijer & Bouwmeester 1990).

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A habitat of C. longicauda in Johore, W. Malaysia.
coll. NJ 85-32
photo Jacobsen
C. longicauda from Sarawak. Picture of the habitat near Gua Sukat. Note the upright tail of the spathe.
coll. NJ 78-22
photo Jacobsen
A ditch on a Durian plantage in southern Johore (W. Malaysia) where C. longicauda grows as a weed.
coll. B 798
For irrigation, the ditch is cleaned and hundreds of  plants are drying out on the bank.
coll. B 798
Several leaf forms of C. longicauda collected in a small area.
photo Jacobsen
In cultivation the leaves are slight bullate. Adult plants show a fine undulated margin of the leave.
coll. unknown, cult. B 208
A closer look at the leave margin. The tissue is membranous thin.This is only seen in C. longicauda.
coll. Bogner 1511, cult. B 390
About one day after the spathe opens, the limb may bent down.
coll. unknown, cult W 21
photo van Wijngaarden
Mostly the limb of the spathe forms a perfect half sphere. There is a pronounced collar.
coll. Bogner 1511, cult. B 390
Sometimes the limb opens more widely. The colour of the limb is mostly dark red, but as seen here rather bright. From Sumatra (Djambi).
coll. NJ 85-24, cult. B 524
A rather dark limb of the spathe. Note the irregular collar.
coll. Bogner1511, cult. B 390
A length section of the upper part of the tube and the collar.
coll. Bogner1511, cult. B 390
An unopened bud of the inflorescence of C. longicauda.
coll. unknown, cult. B 208
Length section of the lower part of the tube, the 'kettle'.
coll. Bogner 1511, cult. B 390
Female flowers of C. longicauda. Note the styles bend down, as normal after a few days.
coll. NJ 85-24, cult. B 524
C. longicauda from Johore, Malaysia.
coll. Ridley 3721
herbarium Singapore
Drawing of a cultivated C. longicauda ( de Wit, 1958, 1961 as C. johorensis). In that time C. fusca was interpreted as C. longicauda.
drawing Ike Zewald
The drawing of the type material of C. caudata N.E.Brown from Sarawak (de Wit 1990), with closed limb of the spathe.
drawing Ike Zewald
Distribution of C. longicauda in Malaysia and Sumatra Distribution of C. longicauda in Borneo

Cryptocoryne longicauda is quite easy to cultivate emerged under standard conditions. Submersed the cultivation of this species is rather difficult on the long term.
The inflorescence is rather unique. Only the tail reaches up to 20 cm! Plants with the deep bullate leaves as seen in the type material for C. caudata are never seen again. Perhaps it is a local form, variations of this kind are also seen in C. minima.
Cultivated plants of C. longicauda are rather common in the Western Europe.

Updated January 2002


Bastmeijer, J.D. & B.H. Bouwmeester, 1990. Cryptocoryne fusca, Het Aquarium 60(10) : 267-272.
Bastmeijer, J.D., 1993. Das Pflanzenportrat: Cryptocoryne fusca De Wit, Aqua-Planta 3-93 : 108-113.
Beccari, O., 1882. Aracee della Malesia e della Papuasia raccolte da O.Beccari..Malesia 1 : 296-300, Plate 27-28. (Document service)
Brown, N.E., 1880. On some new Aroideae, J.Linn.Soc.XVIII : 242-245, plate IV.
Bruggen, H.W.E.van, 1958. Ervaringen met Cryptocoryne johorensis, Het Aquarium 28(9) : 206-207.

Engler, A., 1879. Cryptocoryne Fischer. Bull.Soc.Tosc.Ortic. 4 : 301-302. (Document service)
Engler, A., 1920. (Cryptocoryne in:) Das Pflanzenreich IV.23.F. Araceae - Aroideae : 232-249, Leipzig (Document service)

Jacobsen, N., 1982. Cryptocorynen,Cryptocorynen, Alfred Kernen Verlag, Stuttgart.
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 (see the Document service).
Merrill, E.D., 1921. A Bibliographic Enumeration of Bornean Plants, Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society : 106-109.
Paffrath, K., 1974. Cryptocoryne longicauda und Cryptocoryne tortilis, DATZ 27 : 90-92.
Ridley, H.N., 1905. The Aroids of Borneo,J.Str.Br.Roy.As.Soc. 44 : 169-171.
Ridley, H.N., 1925. Cryptocoryne,Fl. Malay Pen. 5 : 86-88.
Schulze, J., 1971. Cryptocorynen aus Sarawak I-IV, DATZ 24 : 230-233, 267-270, 303-306, 336-339.
Wit,, 1958. Cryptocoryne johorensis Engler. Het Aquarium 28 : 204-206.
Wit,, 1961.Het genus Cryptocoryne (18), C. huegelii Schott, C.johorensis Engler. Het Aquarium 32 : 26-28.
Wit,, 1990. Aquarienpflanzen, 2. Auflage,Ulmer, Stuttgart.