Having appeared in amateur aquariums only in the 21st century, the Bucephalandra continues to gain popularity. This is facilitated not only by the variety of shapes and colors of the leaves, but also the relative unpretentiousness of these plants. Despite the fact that the popularity of bucephalandr among aquarists occurred in recent years, these plants have long been known to science.
The first Bucephalandra in Australia was described by the Austrian botanist Heinrich Shott back in 1858. She received the name Bucephalandra Motley (Bucephalandra motleyana). And it is a small plant with a height of up to 20 cm. The shape and color of the leaves of which varies widely, from lanceolate green to elliptical red-brown.
- For the next, nearly 150 years, the Bucephalandra Buce was virtually unknown to aquarists, and their scientific systematics has remained in its infancy even today.
The next species was described only at the end of the twentieth century, in 1984, by one of the most famous, modern specialists in aroid, Joseph Bogner and was named B. gigantea, due to its impressive size. Although in modern aquarism, bushes 40 cm high can hardly be called gigantic.
In 2001, a small batch of Bucephalandr , under the general name Boutsefalandra Motley , was brought to Holland, where it caused a stir among fans of aquatic plants.
For a long time, it was believed that all members of the genus less than 20 cm in size, regardless of the form of the leaf, are variants of the Buzephalandra Motley.
Bucephalandra sp. Velvet leaf
- Bucefalandra did not receive wide distribution in Europe. It was possible to see them only in scientific institutions and public aquariums.
- Up until 2012, in the official botanical literature only three types of these plants were mentioned – Bucephalandra gigantea, B.magnifolia and B.motleyana, and all other varieties of bucephalandra were referred to the only species, B.motleyana.
The breakthrough came in 2016, when in a short period another 25 new species of these plants were described. And all this thanks to the first taxonomic revision in a century and a half conducted by the Malaysian botanist Peter Boyce and his wife Sin Wong.
By the end of 2017, the number of species with a biological description exceeded 30. The main taxonomic characteristics, in the audit conducted by Boyce, were the structural features of the bucephalandder miniature inflorescences.
An interesting fact is that plants also owe their name to the structure of the inflorescence. The word Bucephalandra comes from three Greek words: “bous” – bull, “kephale” – head and “andros” – masculine, due to the external similarity of stamens with a bull’s head.
- According to forecasts of hydrobotanists, the genus of Bucephalandra may soon increase to fifty species.
- New descriptions have not yet found practical use among aquarists, as it was very difficult to use the main keys to determine the type at home.
- Many species not yet described have abbreviations sp in their name or cf., which mean the absence of a scientific name.