Losing a cutivar is almost as sad as losing a species. In fact, for a plant lover, losing a cultivar is unbearable - especiay, if you have had this cultivar before. So, by 'losing it' I'm not talking about 'not having it now'. I am talking about gone. Forever. As in 'extinct'. I am afraid that Hygrophila difformis 'Variegated' is now extinct.

Last time I visited my friend Khim at South Island Aquarium, I had hoped to be able to take back some specimens of this very beautiful variety of Hygrophila difformis. The population I owned over ten years back had to be left behind when I was faced with long-haul house moving.

Unfortunately, when I arrived at the farm, it turned out that this plant was no-where to be found. 15 years back, Mrs. Shirley Lim, Khim's mother, gave me some specimens to take back to Germany. She had found them among a bunch of 'ecapees', growing mixed in with some Myriophyllum.

I did at least find some old photos of it to prove that it existed and I'm not imagining all of it:

Hygrophila difformis 'Variegated'

Hygrophila difformis 'Variegated'

Here is a close-up of it, just after cutting.

Hygrophila difformis 'Variegated' Nahaufnahme

Hygrophila difformis 'Variegated' (emerse) Detail

H. difformis ‘variegated’ displays true variegation. It is strikingly different from the white-veined variety.

Hygrophila difformis 'Variegated'

Submerged Hygrophila difformis 'Variegated'

Submerged plant, growing in the Aquarium. Image taken from above. Note that the more serrated submerged leaves actually retain the variegation.

I really hope this plant is not lost. It is probably hard to market because the variegation is less pronounced than that of other variegated plants due to the fine serration of the leaves and therefore it is not propagated actively. But it is a beautiful collector’s plant nevertheless with true variegation (as opposed to white veins caused by a virus).