Cryptanthus species grow as evergreen, perennial herbaceous plants . They mostly grow terrestrially. Most Cryptanthus species are relatively small (rosette diameter 15 to 30 centimeters, rarely more). The coarse, parallel- veined leaves sit on a compressed main axis in a basal rosette. The leaves are lightly reinforced by a serrated leaf margin. The most decorative thing about the Cryptanthus species are their sometimes wavy, often beautifully drawn (patterned) leaves. The leaves have suction scales at least on the underside of the leaf. The inflorescences have strongly compressed stem axes and so all the flowers sit in a "head" together in the middle of the leaf rosette (very inconspicuous, "hidden", hence the name). The relatively small, hermaphrodite flowers are radial symmetry and threefold. There are three sepals. The three mostly white, sometimes greenish, spreading petals end bluntly. There are two circles with three stamens each. The stamens are partially fused with the petals. Three carpels have become an under constant ovary grown. The stylus ends in a three-lobed scar.