Bucephalandra Buyers/Sellers Guide

Bucephalandra Buyers/Sellers Guide

Big Thanks to Neo Sin for this write up and sharing on our website.

It has become apparent to me that there has been a lot of confusion and misrepresentation amongst the Bucephalandra community in Australia. I am writing this guide to help new buyers and sellers with a better understanding of Bucephalandra . As a bit of background, I have been a collector and grower since they first became popular in AUS 7-8 years ago and I am always learning new things about this wonderful species.

There seems to be 4 main areas where there is most confusion

1. Emersed vs Submersed leaves

The most common “mistake” sellers make is selling emersed plants that have been submersed in the aquarium for X months.

An emersed Bucephalandra leaf will NEVER turn into a submersed leaf no matter how long it stays submersed. For example, An emersed clump with 100 leaves that is put into an aquarium has 0 submersed leaves. Over the course of a few months, the clump with grow a few new true submersed leaves. At this stage the clump would be more accurately described as a “Transitioning emersed clump with XX% submersed leaves). See Figure 1 for visual comparison.

A clump like in figure 5 would be considered a transitioning emersed clump with <5% full submersed leaves.

Over time the emersed leaves will all die/melt in submersed conditions. This is inevitable as the cell structure of the leaves differ and this process I have observed to take anywhere between a few days to many months to occur.

It would be very inaccurate to call an emersed clump fully submersed just because it has been submersed for many months. As mentioned previously, emersed leaves will NEVER become submersed leaves. A full submersed bucephalandra piece would only have true submersed leaves and decent submersed root growth. (see figure 4)

2. How to tell Emersed from Submersed Bucephalandra

For many new Bucephalandra hobbyists, figuring out emersed from submersed leaves can be difficult. 
Below are a few tips and tricks along with picture references to help you spot the difference like a pro 🙂

a. Emersed Bucephalandra generally have a lot of holes, cut off leaves, damaged leaves etc. However this method is not always accurate as it is possible for submersed plants to also have holes. Use this in conjunction with other methods below. (See Figure 2 for visual comparison)

b. Emersed Bucephalandra generally have rocks and dirt stuck to the roots. Fully submersed Bucephalandra have very white and clean roots, even if grown in soil submersed. (See Figure 3 and 4 for visual comparison)

c. The underside of emersed Bucephalandra leaves are generally very dirty and have dark markings compared to a submersed leaf. (See Figure 3 and 4 for visual comparison)

d. When put side by side underwater, an emersed leaf vs a submersed leaf of the same plant will show many visual difference. The emersed leaves will be much less vibrant, reflective, and the “Bucephalandra glow ” you get from submersed leaves. (See Figure 5 for visual comparison)

3. Naming

Naming Bucephalandra seems to be a very contentious topic. There are only a handful of Bucephalandra which has been officially described by Peter Boyce and SY Wong In Indonesia. Of those officially described only a limited number can be visually Identified with the correct scientific name. An example would be Sp Achillies aka Skeleton King.

Going back to the problem in Australia, It has become apparent that more and more made up names are popping up in our community.

Personally, I don’t it is feasible for every seller to ID their Bucephalandra via inflorescence (flower), but I also think it is too aggressive to have every seller say their Bucephalandra is “Unconfirmed ID” without a flower ID to back up the name.

What I do propose is that sellers take some effort and to show a bit of evidence or to visually compare what they are selling to pictures of common trade names that have been established. E.g Comparing to pics from Vasteq (an old school Bucephalandra collector). This, although not a fool proof solution will at least put a halt to new names being made up and causing more confusion. I would like to hear what the community thinks about this issue and suggestions to sold this problem.

4. Natural Lighting vs RGB Coloured Lighting

Last thing I wanted to touch on briefly is Bucephalandra colouration.

One of the main reasons people fall in love with Bucephalandra is because of the beautiful colours. With the increase of RGB leds, leaves will look different due to its reflective and absorption properties. Leaves will look very different under natural (sunlight) and full spectrum RGB leds.

To me, I believe pictures taken under none RGB leds gives a more accurate representation without reflecting the colours given from RGB lighting. (See Figure 6 for visual comparison). A green Bucephalandra can look like a very colourful Bucephalandra under RGB lighting. A Bucephalandra which has true colour can take years to grow.

An easy way to tell which lighting is used is to look at the skin colour or the persons hand or the wall from the picture. If the persons had is purplish or the wall was colour then it is a clear giveaway for RGB lighting.

I have seen a few sellers show pics of Bucephalandra taken under RGB and none RGB lighting which I think is a very good idea and it gives buyers full disclosure of the colours.

Feel free to add your opinion, what you agree with, what you don’t agree with 🙂

Peace out! 
Neo Sin 9/3/2019

Feel free to share this guide 

Bucephalandra - Figure 2

Bucephalandra - Figure 3

Bucephalandra - Figure 4

Bucephalandra - Figure 5

Bucephalandra - Figure 6

  • Mar 11, 2019
  • Category: News
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