Cryptanthus 

(cryp-tan' thuss)

Common name: Earth Star, Starfish Plant

Family: Bromeliaceae, Bromeliad

Height x width: 4" x 12"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: star-like rosettes of strap-shaped leaves 4-12" long, wavy-margins, often small teeth, occasionally cross banding but usually colorful stripes lengthwise; offsets from leaf axils or stolons

Flowers: whitish, star-shaped, often scented, inconspicuous and sunken in rosette centers

Light: bright

Temperature: average to warm

Watering: low

Fertility: low

Humidity: humid

Soil: well-drained

Pests and Problems: root and crown rots (if too wet), scales, mealybugs, spider mites

Growth habit, uses: attractive foliage in pots, terraria, dish gardens, massed in beds indoors

Other interest: native to dry forests of eastern Brazil, growing either in soil or on rocks; from the Greek kryptos meaning hidden, and anthos meaning flower, refering to the flowers being hidden in the bracts

Other culture: rosette dies after flowering with offshoots continuing growth

Propagation: division of offsets, sow seed warm with bottom heat

Species, other taxa:

Of the about 20 species, the following are often the most seen, with bivittatus perhaps most common.
 
Species height habit foliage, length  
acaulis 4" clumps green, 5"  
acaulis 'Ruber' 4" clumps green tinted red, 5"  
beuckeri 6" clumps green mottled white, 6"  
bivittatus 4" spreading dark green striped white or pinkish, 6-8"  
b. var. atropurpureus 4" spreading dark green, red banded and tinted, 6-8"  
b. var. bivittatus 4" spreading green, 6-8"  
bromelioides 12" stolons olive to bronze, 12"  
b. 'Tricolor' 12" stolons olive, red and white stripes, 12"  
fosterianus 6" spreading brownish, darker cross bands, 12"  
'Pink Starlight' 8" spreading dark olive, pink margins and tint, 6-8"  
zonatus 6" clumps green, gray cross bands, 8"  
z. 'Zebrinus' 6" clumps dark green, white cross bands, 8"  
         


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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