Cyclamen mirabile

Description

Flowers appear in autumn, in the wild in October and November, white to deep pink, with a coconut scent. The corolla lobes are reflexed, 8-26mm long, 2-12mm wide, with serrated tips, generally 90-180 degrees twist, no auricles at the base, where there is a magenta blotch. A pure white without the blotch, forma niveum, has been found rarely.

Leaves appear in autumn, with or just after the flowers, when young often have pink hairs on the top surface patterns which look striking and gave rise to the species name, basically round, often with strongly scalloped and toothed edges, with a dark green ‘Christmas tree’ centre surrounded by a grey green or silver area, underside reddish-purple, 1.5-4cm long, 1.5-4.5cm wide.

Tuber

Tuber a sphere, or slightly flattened on top, large at maturity, up to 10cm diameter, dark brown, becoming rough with age, branching thick (1.5mm) diameter roots, mainly around the sides but with a few anywhere underneath.

Distribution

Cyclamen mirabile grows in southwest Turkey, in the provinces of Aydin, Denizli, Isparta, Izmir, Manisa and Mugla.

Habitat

Cyclamen mirabile grows in a typically Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and warm wet winters, from 150-1150m, in sandy or gritty soil from the (usually) underlying mica schist but also over conglomerate and occasionally limestone, in partial shade at the edge of evergreen oak scrub or rocks, in sparse coniferous woodland and sometimes deciduous woodland.

Cultivation

Cyclamen mirabile is a frost hardy plant but does not thrive in the garden in northwest Europe, possibly because there is too much summer rainfall for it, which tends to rot the thick roots and tuber. It would probably grow well in a very dry, sunny site. However it makes an excellent pot plant in a cold greenhouse. Several cultivars have been named.