by Robert Paul Hudson
Cryptocoryne sp. ‘flamingo’ is not a natural specie, but a mutation of cordata developed by a German nursery, Dennerle, well known throughout Europe who not only produces plants, but manufactures a whole line of aquarium products.
They have reproduced the accidental mutation through tissue culture and are marketing the plant in its tissue culture form still in a culture container.
It is now sold throughout Europe by retailers who buy from Dennerle. One such company is the online retailer, Aquarium Gardening in Wales, United Kingdom. Some here in the USA may remember the Owner of this business: Dr. John Shawn Prescott, who a few years ago had a business based in Baltimore Maryland called Aquarium Landscapes and FishVet. After operating here in the USA for several years, he sold the American business and went back to the UK.
Dr. Prescott has spent his life in the hobby, most notably as a high level executive for Red Sea and developing medications for fish disease. In the late 90s he made a bid to become an American distributor for Amano, but lost out to Art Giacosa who later founded the forum Aquatic Plant Central. At that point Dr Prescott founded Aquarium Landscapes with his own version of Amano type products, and imported plants including several rare Cryptocorynes.
A few months ago some American hobbyists got together to make a group buy of Cryptocoryne flamingo from Aquarium Gardening in Wales. Reports have been mixed from those who participated. Most people lost the plants through melt, some have gotten the beginning of new growth from the rhizomes.
Information about the plant is limited. One German web site that sells the plant describes the following:
- Growth rate: VERY slow
- height 4 to 8 inches, compact growth
- Light: high to very high
- Temperature: 22 to 28 C
- Hardness: very soft to hard
- pH: 5.5 to 8
The leaves in its tissue culture form often have the edges rolled up. This attribute does not show up in either its emersed form or submersed form.
Some German hobbyists report that when the plant grows out, some leaves remain pink while others are brown. Some vein coloration shows through.
The limited number of photos on the internet have some variation in coloring, most likely due to photo touch ups. Here is one example of the same photo on different web sites:
Actual coloration is probably closer to this:
Adapting a plant from tissue culture growth to either emmersed or submersed is a bit tricky. The real test will be when American hobbyists are able to grow one of these plants to the point of runner propagation and have the parent plant survive for more than a year and flower.
It is interesting that Dennerle has chosen to sell the plant in tissue culture form. The marketing hype about tissue culture plants has always been that they are sterile, free of algae, disease, and parasites, however by the time they convert to either subsmersed or emersed, they are far from sterile and may not easily make the transition that well without melting. Importing/exporting tissue culture plants is much easier with less stringent government regulation.
If and when the plant goes into mass hydroponic production, it will then be much more readily available, and much cheaper. The plant first started to show up in Europe around 07, and seems to be gaining in popularity there now.