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CRYPTANTHUS bivittatus

Image of Cryptanthus bivittatus

James H. Schutte

Family

Bromeliaceae

Botanical Name

CRYPTANTHUS bivittatus

Plant Common Name

Earth Star, Earthen Star

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

As if painted, the variegated stripes on earths tar's foliage resembles an ackward starfish, adding visual texture to the floor of the tropical dappled shade garden. A tender terrestrial (growing in soil) bromeliad with a stemless rosette of leaves, it is from eastern Brazil.

There are from ten to twenty flattened strap-like leaves that have tiny teeth on their wavy edges and taper to a point. A medium green, they are striped in either ivory or pink tones, with colors changing across the growing season. In summer's warmth, small white flowers appear in the crotches of leaves in the center of the rosette. Also, small plants, called pups, are forming at the plant's base and will grow to replace the mother bromeliad which will slowly degrade and die after flowering.

Grow earth star in a well-draining moist soil that is friable with lots of organic matter; sandy ground is best. Place in a partially shaded spot, although some sun is tolerated in mornings and evenings and in more humid elevations. Too much shade diminishes the colorful foliage banding. Use it as a massed tropical groundcover or accent in the front of the border where it handsomely contrasts the foliage of tropical ferns or begonias. It also makes a nice houseplant near a very bright window. Pup plants can be pulled away from the mother plant and placed in a new spot before the mother dies; this allows for regular renewal of a massed colony without the visual messiness of dying brown plants. Variety atropurpureus has foliage that is green and red banded with red blushing.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Shade

  • Height

    2"-4" / 5.1cm - 10.2cm

  • Width

    6"-10" / 15.2cm - 25.4cm

  • Native To

    Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edging, Groundcover, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No