Species and hybrids of Cryptanthus [family: Bromeliaceae subfamily: Bromelioideae]. Also known as Earth Stars. These compact plants are prized for their colorful and durable (leathery) foliage. Most are short, compact, and often miniature plants. They range from miniatures 4"- 5" across to larger plants 12"- 18" across. Foliage is variously colored, striped, and mottled. Some are variously covered in tiny grey-silver spots adding to their charm. To the extreme are those with leaves completely covered in these spots (frosting). Perfect for terrariums or as a windowsill plant. Small white flowers emerge from the center of the plant at maturity.
Colors and patterns often vary by age, light intensity, and temperature. A small young pup will not display the full colors, patterns, and textures of a mature plant. Plants grown cooler and brighter will tend to exhibit darker and stronger pink, red, and purple coloration. Plants are all double labeled (on the pot and in the pot) be patient your plant will show their true potential.
Many species and cultivars have their durable leathery leaf margins variously serrate, with small sharp teeth. While these are sparse on some cultivars, they can be numerous on others with leaf edges like the blades of hacksaws. These are typically not an issue unless you are mounting 100-150 on orbs for an orchids show.
The species are endemic to the rugged mountainous regions of coastal eastern Brazil (Alagoas, Bahia, Chapada, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Santo, and Sergipe Provinces). They have evolved to be terrestrials and survive in seasonally dry regions. Some plants reproduce basal pups, form small clumps, and make great small specimen plants. Others form pups on elongated stolons and will slowly walk out of a pot. All species and hybrids are hardy in USDA zones 10b - 12b. In the higher altitudes some species may get occasional frosts.
Many species, heirloom cultivars, newer hybrids, and new exclusive hybrids will be arriving and produced at Harbinger Orchids (and Exotics).