Cryptocoryne crispatula var. flaccidifolia

Aquarium suitability: yes
Usage: Background, Midground, Specimen plant
Difficulty: easy
Growth: medium
See also: Cryptocoryne crispatula var. balansae , Cryptocoryne crispatula var. kubotae , Cryptocoryne crispatula var. tonkinensis , Cryptocoryne retrospiralis
Range and localities: 

South Thailand

Misapplied names: 
  • Cryptocoryne retrospiralis
  • Cryptocoryne tonkinensis

Habit, plant type:

  • rosette
Botanical name [?]: Cryptocóryne crispátula Engler var. flaccidifólia N. Jacobsen

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


Cryptocoryne crispatula var. flaccidifolia is a variety of C. crispatula with long, narrow, smooth to undulate, green to reddish-brown leaves. The leaves of emersed plants are flaccid (flaccidifolia = "with flaccid leaves"). Submersed leaves grow to a length of 20 to 50 cm and a width of 5 to 12 mm.
Its leaf width differs from that of C. crispatula var. tonkinensis (2-4 mm wide leaves) and from C. crispatula var. balansae (15-40 mm wide leaves). Moreover, var. balansae has bullous leaves, whereas those of var. tonkinensis and var. flaccidifolia do have a smooth to undulate margin but no bullous pattern in the leaves.
This variety of Cryptocoryne crispatula is quite variable, like many other varieties of that plant, and there are intermediate forms, too. Thus, not all plant from the group of C. crispatula can be safely assigned to a variety.

C. crispatula var. flaccidifolia is found in Thailand, Vietnam and Southern China (Guangxi), where it grows mainly submersed in rivulets and rivers.

Those plants sold as "Cryptocoryne retrospiralis" in trade for many years probably all belong to C. crispatula var. flaccidifolia. True C. retrospiralis from India is only rarely in cultivation (Kasselmann 2010 and The Crypts Pages).
The plant sold as "Cryptocoryne tonkinensis" in trade also usually do not belong to C. crispatula var. tonkinensis, but to C. crispatula var. flaccidifolia (

Cryptocoryne crispatula var. flaccidifolia may not be as well-known as var. balansae, but it is as recommendable, easy-to-care for aquarium plant. Its up to approx. 50 cm long leaves make it suitable for high tanks. It also does well in harder water and prefers moderate to intensive lighting. Like most other Cryptocorynes, C. crispatula var. flaccidifolia reproduces by subterranean runners, and after some time it forms a dense group.
The narrower leaves of C. var. flaccidifolia look more grass-like than those of var. balansae, and fit beautifully to a Nature Aquarium layout.

- To be continued -

References and further reading:
  1. Bastmeijer, Jan: Cryptocoryne crispatula var. flaccidifolia on ''The Crypts Pages'', updated July 2012 (, accessed 27 August 2013)
  2. Kasselmann, C. (2010): Aquarienpflanzen. 3rd edition (German). - DATZ Aquarienbuch, Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart: 222-223.
  3. Wilstermann-Hildebrand, M. (2008-2012): Cryptocoryne crispatula on (, accessed 27 August 2013)
References (range and localities):
  1. Cryptocoryne crispatula var. flaccidifolia in Flora of China (online version,, accessed 27 August 2013)
Light low to high 
Temperature tolerance 8 to 30 °C
Optimum temperature 20 to 26 °C
Carbonate hardness 5 to 21 °dKH
pH value 6 to 9 
Carbon dioxide (CO2) 5 to 40 mg/l
Nitrate (NO3-) 10 to 50 mg/l
Phosphate (PO43-) 0.1 to 3 mg/l
Potassium (K+) 5 to 30 mg/l
Iron (Fe) 0.01 to 0.5 mg/l

Growth: medium

Propagation: Runners, Rhizomteilung, Splitting, cutting off daughter plants

Can grow emersed?: yes

Suited for outdoor cultivation / ponds: unknown

Winter hardiness: not hardy in Germany

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