Cryptocoryne ciliata is a strong bog plant that can grow to a height of up to 90 cm. It is most widely spread in the coastal areas of the Asian tropics, where it grows in large groups in the estuaries of rivers, in the transitional area of fresh to marine water. These locations are mainly muddy, and inhabited by mangrove forests, and subject C. ciliata to low and high water by the tides. However, this uncommon crypt also grows in and on canals or aquifers, and in even in heavily polluted water. It is often found growing in the same locations as the aroid plant Aglaodorum griffithii, which looks quite similar to C. ciliata, and the nipa palm (Nypa fruticans).
Besides lanceolate, medium green, fleshy yet stiff, long-stalked leaves, C. ciliata typically has a spathe (spathaceous bract) with highly noticeable long fringes or cilia along its margin (see picture 2).
Two varieties of this species are known to be in cultivation:
- Cryptocoryne ciliata var. ciliata forms long runners and has relatively narrow leaf blades usually not heart-shaped at the base. This variety has a diploid set of chromosomes (2n = 22).
- C. ciliata var. latifolia forms upright short lateral shoots instead of runners on the basis of its leaf rosette, which break off easily. The leaves are of a more wide-lanceolate form and often have a slightly heart-shaped base. This plant is triploid (2n = 33).
To be continued...
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