change in the environment was the main
factor leading to the death of almost all the
Cryptocoryne in its natural habitat.
The distribution of this species is very
wide in southwestern parts of Sarawak.
It is mostly found in freshwater swamps
where the water is very soft. I also found
it growing in a stagnant pool at the base
of a limestone hill at Bau where the pH is
around 7. 2. In the past it was reported to be
found in a suburban area of Kuching City,
but due to development most of the plants
there are already destroyed. This species is
very easy to cultivate in the aquarium.
Cryptocoryne longicauda is one of the
common species of aquatic aroids from
the peat swamp forests of Sarawak. The
coverage area is very wide. It is mostly
found in the black and acidic waters of
streams near the coastal area. It has a long
and dark-red colored spathe. The spathe
and its tail can reach 20 cm ( 8 inches),
hence its name longicauda, which means
“with long tail” in Latin. In some places it
grows together with Cryptocoryne cordata
Cryptocoryne ferruginea is widely distributed in the freshwater swamps of southwestern Sarawak.
The coverage area of this species is in the
lower part of the Sungai Rajang, the longest
river in Malaysia. It only grows in the black
water of peat swamp areas. The spathe is
yellowish and reddish colored with very
fine red spots. It is not easy to cultivate it
in the aquarium, as it prefers to grow in
soft water. I only cultivate this species in
emersed conditions in a terrarium. The best
substrate for planting this aroid is peat or
One of the author’s collecting party finds Cryptocoryne longicauda in a blackwater stream.
Sarawak. It is a natural hybrid that grows in
a ditch in a shaded old rubber plantation.
The spathe is red colored.
This species was first discovered by the
Japanese plant collector Yuji Sasaki in
2002. It grows in the blackwater streams
and rivers on the eastern side of the area
of Sibu. The leaf is light-green colored,
and can reach at least 40 cm ( 16 inches) in
length. The spathe is white in color and has
a distinct dark-purple collar.
Jungle Streams and
There are five species of Cryptocoryne
found in fast-flowing rivers or streams
where the water is less acidic (the pH is
usually between 6.0 and 6. 8). Most of them
are growing on the submerged tree roots
or gravel in the riverbed to avoid being
washed away by strong water currents,
especially after a heavy rainfall.
CRYPTOCORYNE X PURPUREA
C. x purpurea is the rarest variety of
aquatic aroid in my homeland. It was
discovered not long ago in the middle
part of the Batang Kayan Basin in western
This aquatic plant is mostly found on the
tree roots either in submerged or emersed
condition. They usually grow together in
very small patches, under the shade of
big trees near the riverbank. The spathe
is very short and it is white colored. The
Cryptocoryne cordata var. zonata, with its
yellow spathe emerging from the water.