Cyclamen rhodium

Description

Flowers appear in spring, in the wild from March to May, ssp rhodium – white to occasionally very pale pink with a pale pinkish-purple nose, a pure white form is known in the wild, ssp peloponnesiacum – pale to deep pink with a darker reddish pink nose, a pure white (forma albiflorum) is known in the wild, ssp vividum – dark reddish-pink with an even darker reddish-purple nose, a white form is known in the wild. All subspecies are fragrant with a sweet scent. The corolla lobes are reflexed, 15-30mm long, 5-10mm wide, with pointed tips generally 180 degrees twist, no auricles at the base.

Leaves appear in early spring, full grown by flowering time, thin blade, oval to triangular, edges faintly lobed often with scalloped margins, dark or grey green background with pale green, grey-green or silver markings, from a jagged zone or patches around a dark central triangular area to random splashes all over the surface, underside pale green or purplish, 2-15cm long, 1.5-15cm wide.

Tuber

Tuber a compressed sphere, medium sized at maturity, up to 7cm diameter, brown, smooth, with fine velvety hairs, becoming rough with age, branching thin (0.5mm) diameter roots arise from the centre of the underside.

Distribution

Cyclamen rhodium ssp rhodium grows on the Eastern Aegean islands of Rhodes and Kos. Cyclamen rhodium ssp peloponnesiacum grows in the eastern, northern and (the main area) central southern (Mani peninsula) Peloponnese. Cyclamen rhodium ssp vividum grows in the eastern southern (Parnon mountains) Peloponnese, overlapping in the north of its range with ssp peloponnesiacum.

Habitat

Cyclamen rhodium ssp rhodium grows in shade under scrub and in rocky areas, often in pine forest, from 50-800m; ssp peloponnesiacum grows in humid, shady places in woodland, scrub and at cliff bases, from 350-1500m; ssp vividum grows in drier, open places in light woodland, rocks and scrub from 400-1700m.

Cultivation

Cyclamen rhodium subspecies are not particularly hardy but when planted deeply, 10-15cm, in a sheltered and damp (not wet) situation, could make a good garden plant in milder parts of northwest Europe. In colder climates they grow well as pot plants in a frost-free greenhouse, performing best when well shaded, although ssp vividum will take more sun. No cultivars have been named. ‘Pelops’ was a name given to ssp peloponnesiacum when this was considered part of the C. repandum group. Pure white flowered plants and those with leaves with brighter patterning, including an all over silver wash, are often grown. In cultivation ssp peloponnesiacum has hybridised with the closely related C. balearicum (C. x saundersiae) and, since C. creticum, C. repandum and all the subspecies of C. rhodium, which are geographically separated in the wild, have the same chromosome number, hybridisation among them is likely.