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Anubias barteri vs. b. nana

David Webb wrote:

>My bet on this plant is that it's anubias barterii var. barterii or var.
>nana.  I've never been able to determine a real difference between the
>two after watching my two small A. nana that I purchased seven years ago
>turn into giant versions of A. barterii that I'm now occasionally
>clipping into smaller (and more numerous) pieces.

There really _is_ a difference between A. barteri and A. b. var. nana,
though, as you have mentioned, they are both quite variable.  A. barteri,
in addition to the leaves being larger, also has longer petioles.  The
leaves of A. barteri stand a good 4-5" above the rhizome, even my tanks
with moderate light and no supplemental CO2.  The leaves are about 2 1/2"
wide and 4-5" long.   A. b. var. nana OTOH, has short petioles, so the
leaves are set close to the rhizome. Even in my CO2 supplemented high light
tanks, the leaves are about 1 1/2" wide and 2 1/2" long.  In unsupplemented
moderate light tanks, the leaves are 1 1/2" long and about 3/4" wide. 

I've grown these plants for years, and can always distinguish between them,
no matter what conditions they're grown under.  I _have_ seen _very_
stunted Anubias.  They can become amazingly small.  I found one "bonsai"
Anubias that had been in an unlit tank in a basement of an ex-fish keeper's
house for 3 years without care.  The entire plant was  about 7x4", and the
tiny round leaves were no more than 1/4" in diameter and appeared healthy.
I didn't even recognize the plant until I picked it up and saw the root
system.  I thought it was neat, and brought it home.  Every new leaf that
sprouted was normal A. b. nana size.  Because individual Anubias leaves are
so long lived, it actually took about 2 years before _all_ the little
leaves were replaced.

Another difference between the two varieties is that the rhizome of nana
tends to stay closer to the substrate, making nana a useful foreground
plant.  The roots of A. barteri puts the rhizome up on long "stilts" so
that the entire height of the plant, from substrate to leaf tip is over 11"
even in moderate light without supplemental CO2.  My oldest and largest
leafed nana, (which hasn't been divided in at least 2 years) is only 7"
from substrate to leaf tip, and even that height is due to the typical
diagonal growth habit of all Anubias rhizomes.

If there really is no difference between the differnt plants you have, I
suspect that what you've gotten has been stunted growth of normal A.
barteri which has, because of the stunting, looked temporarily like A. b.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association