Crypt nurii in vitro plantlets
 in vitro plantlets

Sold by Tropica in a tissue culture cup as Cryptocoryne nurii, this small crypt is doing very well in the Fireplace Aquarium.  Unlike the smaller bright green leaves in the tissue culture form, the new growth submersed form leaves are larger and have a very pretty mottled dark green and dusky rose colouration.  Sometimes this plant is sold under the name ‘Rose Maiden’ which does seem suitable.

I was hoping for a cryptocoryne with some red colouration but after the disappointment of pretty much no red at all on Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘flamingo’ , and a prominent striped light and dark green pattern but no actual pink on Cryptocoryne petchii pink confidence was not very high…

Cryptocoryne nurii has mottled red and green leaves

Happily, after a month or two of submersed growth, the Cryptocoryne nurii has delivered on the promise of its ‘Rose Maiden’ nickname.

The new leaves are mottled with an interesting pattern of dark green and dusky rose-pink.  There haven’t been a lot of variegated plants in the Fireplace Aquarium and it’s nice to have some variety beyond all the solid colours.  There are a few examples in the pictures of leaves that haven’t figured out if they should be submersed or emersed and that have about half of them a solid bright green and the rest the mottled patterning.  I expect that going forward we won’t see these mixed type leaves, but we’ll see.  I think there is a very nice contrast between the Crypt. nurii and the purer solid red of the Alternanthera reineckii ‘Mini’ visible in the pictures directly behind the C. nurii on the left.

Tissue culture vs.  submersed  C. nurii  leaves

C. nurii submersed and tissue culture form leaves
top: submersed form
bottom: tissue culture form

It is common for the submersed growth form of leaves to differ substantially from the emersed growth form and this can also be true for in vitro tissue culture grown leaves.  With C. nurii the tissue culture form leaves are the lower ones on the photo which are smaller and mostly green with some hints of the red colouration to come after transition to submersed growth.  The larger leaves on the upper half of the picture show the fully transitioned submersed form.  It is common with cryptocoryne species to have emersed grown leaves of rockwool pot plants ‘melt’ such that you can even just proactively snip them off before planting them underwater.  The advice is to not do this with tissue culture cup grown plants. So far the C. nurii tissue culture leaves have persisted and seem healthy enough.  They could probably be removed now that the plants have successfully transitioned, but I’ll let them be for now.

What is the real name of Cryptocoryne nurii?

As is typical in the trade, the names of the species for sale may or may not have anything to do with species names from any official taxonomy.  This one looks to be Cryptocoryne nurii var. raubensis – which is to say, a variety of Crypt nurii collected in the Raub district in Pahang, Malaysia from alkaline hard water limestone streams.  The ‘Rose Maiden’ branding seems to have been made up for marketing purposes.  There is also a quite different looking yet related plant Cryptocoryne nurii var. nurii which grows instead under soft water acid water conditions.

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