Tales From the Crypt

When you hear the word "crypt", scary images come to mind like the one pictured here.

But not all crypts are frightening.  Some are, in fact, beautiful.

Cryptanthus is one of the several genera belonging to the Bromeliad family. It's name comes from the Latin word crypt meaning hidden and the Greek word anthos meaning flower. This is because the flowers are stemless, small and almost unnoticeable unlike other genera of bromeliads where the inflorescence is impressive. What it lacks in flower it makes up with foliage.

Cryptanthus is also known as earth star because of its shape and it comes in unimaginable number of colors and leaf patterns. Most species of Cryptanthus have marginal and terminal spines and could pass as Agaves and Sansevieirias. Most Cryptanthus species are native to Brazil and perhaps can play good football and dance the samba. 

Image from Derrick Bostrom (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bostworld/) Licensed for Reuse   

Image from Derrick Bostrom (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bostworld/) Licensed for Reuse



My crypts are kept in partial shade to attain best color. Too much sunlight will bleach the leaves. I water them everyday and they seem to like it contrary to its xeric appearance. They readily pup after flowering. Some even pup profusely.

Note the three pups and what was previously flowers

Cryptanthus bivitattus

Cryptatnthus bivittatus

Cryptanthus bivittatus var.?

Cryptanthus bivitattus var. atropurpureus (Ruby)

Caterpillars hate them. When a swarm of caterpillars decided to wreak havoc in my garden a few months ago all my crypts were unaffected.  There is something about crypts that creep creepy caterpillars. Disclaimer: This is not a tongue twister but a factual observation.