Cryptocoryne retrospiralis grows over the entire location of India. Flowering specimens of C. retrospiralis are difficult to distinguish from C. spiralis as the two have comparable, stiff leaves. The spatha however is quite different. The difference among C. retrospiralis and C. crispatula is that the latter has a more narrower, usually undulated, leaves.
Further, the two plants vary in the markings on the limb of the spathe. The usual monsoon leaves in C. retrospiralis (the chives form leaves) are also discovered in C. crispatula. Even though this plant is known for more than 150 years, little is known of this kind of this species.