Cryptocoryne retrospiralis grows over the whole area of India. Flowering specimens of C. retrospiralis are not easy to distinguish from C. spiralis as both have similar, stiff leaves. The spatha however is quite different. The difference between C. retrospiralis and C. crispatula is that the latter has often narrower, often undulated, leaves. Further, the two plants differ in the markings on the limb of the spathe. The typical monsoon leaves in C. retrospiralis (the chives form leaves) are also found in C. crispatula. Though this plant is known for more than 150 years, little is known on the variation in this species.