1. Cryptocoryne crispatula Engler, Pflanzenr. 73(IV. 23F): 247. 1920.
旋苞隐棒花 xuan bao yin bang hua
Rhizome sometimes with a metallic blue-gray color, 0.5-1 cm in diam., irregularly thickened. Root system sometimes with many finely branched upright roots. Leaves green to brown, very variable, narrowly linear to lanceolate, 10-70 × 0.2-4 cm, smooth to undulate to bullate, margin entire to finely, irregularly denticulate; broader leaf blades mostly with conspicuous lateral veins. Generally, two ecological leaf forms occur: 1) plants that grow submerged for most of year, thus developing long flaccid-lax submerged leaves (sometimes also developing shorter, stiffer emergent leaves); 2) plants that develop short terete leaves during rainy season and, when water level decreases, form normal emergent leaves at anthesis. Spathe outside greenish to brownish, 10-40(-60) cm; kettle 1-2.5 cm, inside somewhat constricted below male flowers, inside ± reddish (especially distally) and with alveolae (depressions in wall) in distal part; flap closing kettle sometimes ± purple spotted; tube slightly to somewhat twisted, 5-30(-45) cm; limb ± spirally twisted, yellowish to grayish, with short to long, purple to reddish markings, sometimes markings almost completely covering surface, or few and faint, or absent, (1.5-)3-8(-12) cm; collar not present. Spadix: female flowers 4-6, with horizontal to vertical, round to ovoid stigmas; olfactory bodies ± irregularly lobed with protruding cells; male flowers 90-130, thecae rough from protruding cells. Fruit splitting in a septicidal/septifragal-ceratium-like way, greenish to purplish, narrowly globose, 1-1.5 cm, smooth. Seeds brownish, 5-8 mm, rugose; endosperm present; embryo cone-shaped with an undifferentiated plumule. 2n = 36, 54.
Rivers,streams; near sea level to 600 m. Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Yunnan [Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam].
Cryptocoryne crispatula s.l. is here interpreted as one species comprising different ecological races, i.e., leaf forms that are adapted to the water supply and the overall topography of the rivers in which they grow. In rivers with more constant water-bearings, and not too steep a fall, the more aquatic ones occur, viz. the long, narrow-leaved forms with an undulate or bullate leaf blade. In rivers with a seasonal variation in the water-bearings, the more amphibious ones occur, characterized by having shorter, ± smooth leaves. The variation within C. crispatula is very complex, with more than six recognizable forms in mainland Asia, some more readily distinguishable from the next than others. There are transitions between the various forms. The here recognized varieties represent the more distinctive ones, and admittedly specific plants may only with some difficulty be referred unambiguously to a definite variety. The number of varieties accepted is subjective. This is not meant as an excuse for an insufficient treatment but is merely recognition of the complexity of C. crispatula.
It is important to note that the leaves can vary in size during the flowering season; therefore, herbarium material should be studied with this in mind.
In the present circumscription, Cryptocoryne crispatula is recognized as different from the tetraploid C. retrospiralis (Roxburgh) Kunth from India. If C. crispatula were not recognized as different from C. retrospiralis, the mentioned varieties of C. crispatula would then be considered as varieties of C. retrospiralis.
In addition to the four varieties here recognized in China, Cryptocoryne crispatula var. tonkinensis (Gagnepain) N. Jacobsen (Aqua Pl. 16: 29. 1991; C. tonkinensis Gagnepain, Notul. Syst. (Paris) 9: 133. 1941; C. retrospiralis (Roxburgh) Kunth var. tonkinensis (Gagnepain) de Wit) occurs in Thailand and Vietnam, where it grows along rivers and streams. It has not yet been recorded from China, but may be distinguished as follows. Leaves usually submerged, green to brownish, flaccid, 20-30 × 0.2-0.4 cm, smooth or slightly undulate. Emergent leaves shorter and broader compared to submerged ones. Spathe mostly with a tube (5-)15-30 cm; limb with a long open spiral with a yellowish base color with irregular, dark reddish lines of varying intensities. Fl. Dec-Apr. 2n = 36.