Cyclamen — Who Knew?

The cyclamen commonly sold by florists is C. persicum.

Charlie’s folks brought us this lovely cyclamen last evening — I think their blooms are so unique and their foliage is almost as pretty as the blooms.

"Leaves are almost round to heart-shaped or arrowhead-shaped, often variegated in several shades of green and silver, either with blotches or an arrowhead shape. The variegation is thought by some botanists to be a form of natural disruptive camouflage to reduce grazing damage by animals." - Wiki
"Each flower is on its own stem, bent downwards 150-180° at the end. There are 5 petals, connected at the base, bent outwards or up, and sometimes twisted. Petals are white, pink, or purple, often with a darker nose." - Wiki
"The fruit is a round pod, opening by 5 flaps at maturity and containing numerous sticky, amber seeds. Natural seed dispersal is by ants (myrmecochory), which eat the sticky covering and then discard the seeds." - Wiki

I discovered a multitude of interesting facts about this plant, including that it grows from a tuber (who knew?) and that they are known for their delicate taste and people from all over the world have been known to eat them. People worldwide have also been known to pick off the petals and use them in tea.

The genus is most widely known by its scientific name Cyclamen being taken into common usage; other names occasionally used include Sowbread and sometimes, confusingly, Persian violet (it is not related to the violets), or primrose (neither is it a primrose).

It surely is a pretty plant and here’s hoping I don’t kill it.  I, unfortunately, don’t have much luck with houseplants.  I believe the light is the key factor, all of our windows being on one side of the building.  It’s certainly a bright spot at the end of the gardening season.


Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

5 thoughts on “Cyclamen — Who Knew?”

  1. Nancy,

    We have a cyclamen in the garden. The tuber is around 1 inch thick by 3 inches around. Ours does not bloom as pretty as the indoors ones. Really nice photos!

  2. I’ve got several hardy cyclamen in the garden and they’re lovely, too, with gorgeous leaves. The bloom, however, is much smaller than these florist’s cyclamen. I do okay with houseplants, but not this one, unfortunately. I kill these every time. Overwatering is what does it, I believe.
    Check with our friend Jodi, as she knows the secret to keeping them alive! I haven’t yet mastered it. She is nothing short of amazing, as you know. SHE can grow Himalayan Blue Poppies, too… *sigh*

  3. I’ve grown a few cyclamen in my time and have found that, when watering, if you put the pot in a few inches of water and let the plant absorb the water from below rather than watering from above, the plant does much better. They are really beautiful plants.

  4. Nancy girl that is one gorgeous plant .. I have tried to keep one alive at one point and failed miserably so I fear them and orchids .. I run screaming when I see them in the stores ? LOL
    I’m sure you will take good care of this beauty though !
    PS .. it truly brightens a room up doesn’t it !

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