Cryptanthus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Bromeliaceae, containing over 100 species that are native to South America. More specifically, they can be found growing on Brazil's rain forest floors. Plants in this genus are unique in that they only grow terrestrially.
Plants in this genus are commonly known as Earth Stars due to their shape. They have short creeping rhizomes that typically branch into small, flat, star-like rosettes of strap-shaped to triangular leaves that are often variegated with white to red to silvery stripes or bars. Each leaf has finely-toothed wavy edges and a long-tapering apex. Small white flowers emerge in summer from the center of the leaf rosette.
Genus name comes from the Greek words "krypto", meaning "to hide" and "anthos", meaning "a flower" in reference to the lower part of the flower being hidden by the sheathing leaves.
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