Staurogyne repens – the new unknown plant from the rainforest in Brazil


by Claus Christensen

Staurogyne repens (Tropica No 049G) is a freshly green, compact and hardy plant for the foreground of the aquarium. Its nearest relative in the aquaristic is Hygrophila but Staurogyne repens is different with its marked compact, low and bushy stature and small green leaves.

In 2005, we received this plant from an aquarist and later, also Tropica visited the habitat of Staurogyne repens. Here, Staurogyne repens grew on rocks in the River Rio Cristalino in Mato Grosso in the southern Amazonas. DNA analyses reveal that Staurogyne repens is closely related to Hygrophila which is also present in South America.

Staurogyne repens is a freshly green plant with stiff brownish stems. The leaves are relatively small as compared with the Hygrophila genus, in particular, when under water. Staurogyne repens also grows somewhat slower than the known species of Hygrophila. The sales pot resembles that of Hygrophila with upright stems but Staurogyne repens also have several horizontal stems produced at the basis of the plant.

It is particularly under water that Staurogyne repens differs from the known species of Hygrophila. Staurogyne repens is suitable for the foreground and middle ground of the aquarium. During planting in the aquarium, the longest upright shoots should be cut off and each pot should be divided into 2 to 4 pieces which are then planted close to each other in a small group. The emergent leaves will eventually die-off when under water and these may also be removed during planting. By doing so, the low compact growth form is maintained. In the aquarium, Staurogyne repens develops new horizontally creeping shoots from the plant basis which soon form a beautiful carpet. The ability makes it an ideal plant for the foreground.

Tropica produces Staurogyne repens from tissue culture and it is available in post as well as on pieces of lava stones (AquaDecor in size M and S). The AquaDecor series may be used together with the potted form to create an aquascape in the foreground or middle ground of the aquarium, but it is also suitable for creating colour contrast to the smaller and lighter green foreground plants such as Hemianthus callitrichoides or Utricularia graminifolia. When planting the AquaDecor version of Staurogyne repens we also recommend cutting off long vertical shoots in order to stimulate the compact and more attractive growth form of Staurogyne repens.

Staurogyne repens is a strong and vital plant that prefers medium to high light and supplement of CO2. Staurogyne repens also requires some fertilization with nutrients. A combination of a nutrient rich substrate (Tropica AquaCare substrate and Tropica AquaCare capsules) in addition to supply of micro nutrients (Tropica AquaCare liquid) is necessary in order to maintain the freshly green colours of the leaves and constant growth ground cover. In case the vertical shoots have been removed prior to planting, it may take months until further trimming is required. At that time, new vertical shoots may be removed on a weekly basis.

Staurogyne repens is apart from being an excellent foreground plant for the planted tank also very suitable for nano aquaria because of its slow and creeping growth and hardy nature.

Have good time with Staurogyne repens.

Staurogyne repens in its natural habitat on the banks of River Rio Cristalino in Mato Grosso, Brazil.

Staurogyne sp. in the aquarium with its creeping growth form.

Staurogyne repens as AquaDecor anchored with its own roots on a piece of lava stone. The photos are showing before (above) and after (below) trimming off the longest shoot making it ready for planting in the tank. Please note that all the longer vertical shoots have been removed in order to maintain the attractive compact growth form.