Cyclamen purpurascens

Description

Flowers appear midsummer to late autumn, in the wild from June to October, rose pink to reddish purple, very fragrant with a sweet scent. The corolla lobes are reflexed, 15-25mm long, 5-10mm wide, with pointed tips, generally 90 degrees twist, without auricles at the base, which is a darker shade of colour. A white form, carmineolineatum, and a pure white form, album, are known.

Leaves appear in late summer, sometimes with the old leaves still present, round or broadly oval, edge smooth or slightly toothed, from plain dark green to all over silvered, through marbling in shades of green or silver, underside purplish, 3-8cm long, 2.5-8cm wide.

Tuber

Tuber spherical, becoming irregular with age, up to 6cm in diameter at maturity, pale brown, smooth, becoming rough with age, thick (2mm) diameter branching roots, arise from almost anywhere on the surface.

Distribution

Cyclamen purpurascens ssp purpurascens grows across a wide area of the Alps and into the Balkans, in France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia, while ssp immaculatum grows in a separate area of the western Carpathians, the Tatras, in the Slovak Republic.

Habitat

Cyclamen purpurascens grows in deciduous or mixed deciduous/evergreen woodland, under thick leaf litter, in humus rich pockets of soil on limestone but also grows in the open in scree, sparse grassland and above the tree line, from sea level, in the Balkans, to 1500m, in the Alps.

Cultivation

Cyclamen purpurascens is a very hardy plant and should be suitable for the garden in northwest Europe but does not seem to thrive as well as might be expected. Humus rich soil, which is not allowed to dry out in summer and shade seem to be the main requirements. It is most often cultivated as a pot plant in a cold greenhouse. A great deal of selection for leaf patterns has been carried out.