The Crypts pages are on the cultivation and taxonomy of plants of the genus Cryptocoryne. These plants of the Aroid family grow in the tropics from India to Papua New Guinea. Some of them are used as ornamentals in aquaria. Plants of the close related genus Lagenandra are included.
This is a hobby project, based on a rather long experience in cultivating Cryptocoryne but by no means it is a 'stand alone' project. All over the world, there are living communities of Crypts lovers who have their annual meetings for exchange of material and experience. In these communities, universities, botanical gardens and local hobbyists join their efforts. Also exporters and nurseries make contributions. When you are seriously involved, join the various discussion groups (see the link page). The European Cryptocoryne Society has an annual meeting, mostly in October.

click on the map to see the distribution of species

New Guinea Philippines Borneo Sumatra Malaya Mainland Asia Sri Lanka India
from Jacobsen, 1982, Cryptocorynen, Ulmer

The Crypts pages project started in summer 1997 and ended in autumn 2000. All known species are described and a lot of pictures are available for identification. This is especially important, for many species show a lot of variation. Not only influenced by environmental factors such as light and soil, but also by genetic differences. Today, these pages will be updated at less regular intervals.

For the novice Crypts lover these pages may be disappointing. Do not expect aquarium pictures, most species are not appropriate for the aquarium and it is another specialism. It is also supposed that you already have some knowledge of Cryptocoryne. Moreover it is assumed that you know how to grow them. And, not at least, you will never find the rare species in a shop. You definitely need an (international) network.
At any rate, enjoy the spectacular inflorescence's (flowers) of these tiny aroids.

C.beckettiiThe popularity of Cryptocoryne is no doubt based on the keeping of tropical fish tanks. There are records that Crypts were cultivated in aquaria in Europe in the 1910s. From the sixties imports of collected wild plants grew enormous and the cultivation of 'new' Cryptocoryne was a hype for aquarists.

Cryptocoryne beckettii Thw. from Sri Lanka.
Aquarel by J. Voerman Jr., 1925, Verkade

The first Cryptocoryne was described already in 1779 as Arum spirale by Retzius. The genus appears from India to New Guinea with about 60 species. Today, Cryptocoryne is probably one of the best known genera of the Aroid family. Cryptocoryne has a quite complicated taxonomy and there are of course different opinions. The taxonomy used here is result of discussions in the forum with Niels Jacobsen and Josef Bogner.

Endangered plants
Many species are endangered for the simple reason that their habitats are disappearing. One of the tasks of man is to draw attention to this worldwide problem. The hobby of cultivating this genus will stimulate the interest in the biological and the cultural treasures of that part of the world.
Today more and more popular aquarium plants are propagated in tissue culture and there is less pressure on the habitats from collecting plants (though also fewer benefits for the collectors). However, some species are till now very hard to grow. This site will stimulate the knowledge and the exchange of information on crypts.

Geographical delimitation
In a few cases I had to join political states into a group because there are only a few species or when the territory is relatively small and have nearly the same flora. Sometimes this feels bad, I am sorry for that.

Distribution maps
The distribution maps for the species do not pretend to be complete. Besides, I use an optimistic view. If there are reasonable arguments for a locality, I include it. Not only data from herbaria are used, also data from (sometimes obscure) literature and from personal communication are used. Probably not all information is correct, it may be that the locality is documented 100 years ago and is now converted into a highway, a golf coarse or an oil palm plantation. DO NOT plan a trip based on this information!

Image coding
All images of plants are coded with a 4 position code, connected with an underscore. The first part is the species code, a three letter abbreviation. The second part is the collector's code. The third part is a greenhouse code. The fourth part is an arbitrarily code, it may be a date, film number or whatever. Unknown or irrelevant data are represented with a letter 'x'. This way of coding has some imperfections and is essentially for private use, but you may understand it. See more details.

A lot of people contributed in giving permission to use their pictures:
Arends (NL), Armstrong (AUS), Averyanov (RU), Babics (D), Barr (USA), Basia (RU), Bednii (MOL), te Beest (NL), Bem (CZ), ten Berge (B), Bogner (D), Blass †(D), Boorsma (NL), Boyce (UK), van Bruggen †(NL), Budianto (ID), Chan (SG), Christensen (DK), Driessen (NL), Eichner (D), Ehrenberg †(D), Ganapathy (MY), Gasser †(USA), Gerlach (D), Hanrieder (D), Hoeck (D), Hansen (AUS), Hildebrand (D), Idei (JP), Ipor (MY), Jacobsen (DK), Johnsen (DK), Junge (D), Kaburagi (JP), Kasselmann (D), Kawashima (JP), Kettner (CH), Kovalev (RU),  Krombholz (USA), Krøjgaard (DK), Liedl (D), Lo (MY), Maesen (B), Maxwell †(TH), Möhlmann †(D), Murata (JP), Ng (SG), Nicolson (USA), van den Nieuwenhuizen (NL), Oberjatzas (D), Ørgaard (DK), Pao (MY), Prasartkul (TH), Raj (IN), Reitel (D), Roggekamp (NL), Sajeev (IN), Sando (TH). Sasaki (JP), Seccombe (AUS), Schulze †(D), Schöpfel †(D), Schwott (CZ), Sigezo (JP), Sim (MY), Siow (MY), Sivadasan (IN), Shelejkovsky (RU), Snijders (NL), Stam (NL), Ueno (JP), Vlasblom †(NL), Vogt (D), Wang (SG), Waser (CH), van Wijngaarden† (NL), Windelov (DK), de Wilde (NL), de Wit †(NL), Wongso (ID), Yadav (IN), Yamaoka (JP), TianZi Biodiversity Centre (CN), Zewald (NL), Zhou (CN) .

Technical data
Good memories of the beautiful, now vintage SLR cameras as the Exacta Varex IIb and the Praktica Nova, both with a Pancolar 1:2, 50 mm  and of the Olympus OM1/2 with Auto-Macro 1:3.5, 50 mm on  Kodachrome 64 / Fujichrome 100 film. In most cases with electronic flashlight and diaphragm 16. Some slides were scanned Kodak PhotoCD and adapted with PhotoShop. Later with a Nikon Coolscan III for digitising colour slides. From 2003 on I use a couple of Nikon Coolpix 5000 for imaging. Many (very) close-up pictures of the details of the kettle were made with a reversed Olympus lens in front of it. Lighting with a couple of household tungsten bulbs and a few screens. The website is engineered with Dreamwaver CS3 using nested templates.

The pictures and texts are copyrighted. You can use them for yourself, for study, in hobby clubs etc. Do not distribute any part, especially not via the web. They are not free for commercial use, if you like to do so, contact me.

Feel free to comment, ask questions and give feedback.

Updated January 2016

Jan D. Bastmeijer
mail to: crypts (at) xs4all (dot) nl