© Heiko Muth (2014)

Anubias afzelii

Aquarium suitability: yes
Usage: Cichlid proof plant, Background, Midground
Difficulty: very easy
Growth: slow
See also: Anubias barteri var. angustifolia , Anubias congensis
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Range and localities: 

Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali

Height: 30 - 40 cm
Width: 30 - 40 cm

Misapplied names: 
  • Anubias congensis

Habit, plant type:

  • rhizome or creeping stem
Botanical name [?]: Anúbias afzélii Schott

Major group (unranked): Seed plants: Flowering plants (Angiosperms)
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Genus: Anubias


The Anubias available in trade are subject to a considerable name confusion. For a long time, Anubias afzelii has been carried under the erroneous name "Anubias congensis". However, Anubias congensis is a synonym of another species, namely A. heterophylla. Narrow-leaved plants with reddish-brown leaf stalks sold as "A. afzelii" are truly Anubias barteri var. angustifolia.

True A. afzelii is one of the larger Anubias species. The land form of this strong, robust plant can grow to a maximal height of one metre, forming an up to one metre long and 4 cm thick rhizome. However, in cultivation it tends to stay smaller. The leaf blades grow to over 40 cm in length and have a lanceolate to narrow-ovate to oval form.
A. afzelii populates sunny to shaded river to rivulet banks in West Africa (Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali) where it often forms dense groups.
Other than most larger Anubias species that are mainly suitable as emersed paludarium plants, A. afzelii can also be used as a constantly submersed aquarium plant even though it is a very slow grower. Its robustness makes it an ideal plant for cichlid tanks.

- To be continued -

References and further reading:
  1. Crusio, W. (1987): Die Gattung Anubias. - Aqua Planta, Sonderheft 1: 1-44. Electronic re-edition, 2009.
  2. Kasselmann, C. (2010): Aquarienpflanzen. 3rd edition (German). - DATZ Aquarienbuch, Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart.
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