Cryptophyllum by the lagoon

Habitat of Cryptophyllum minor

Cryptophyllum ldscp 1

This landscape view shows part of a Cryptophyllum habitat. The taller plant at left is Cryptophyllum minor. Near to the plant's base, and towards the viewer, is a pair of very young plants of C. minor, still showing juvenile leaves. In the mature version of this plant, the true leaves are reduced to sheathing structures similar to cataphylls, while the visible foliage actually is the inflorescences of the plant. The spathes assume the role of photosynthesis in place of the absent leaves.

Cryptophyllum habitats are unique in that the plants are always found at, or very near, the top of hills. This is due to the growth of the upright rhizome which is producing new root mass continually as the plant grows. The rhizome is never visible because it becomes clothed in thick roots radiating away and down from the plant. Over time, this produces a hill on which other plants can colonize and grow.

Some other plants visible nearby are Spirophyllum pinnatum on the section of Arodendron log, a small specimen of Monsteroides in the rosette stage lower down on the hill to the viewer's right, and an example of Dextropinnum faintly visible behind the young Pinnatidendron seen at the right side of the picture, across the waterway.

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