Cyclamen Society Field Study: Central Crete 1996

The final year of a three year study in central and western Crete to primarily study the
variation and distribution of C. creticum.

Crete was visited twice in 1996, a spring trip to central Crete surveyed 33  sites
and collected 61 plants (15 C. graecum & 46 C. creticum). An October trip to
western Crete in combination with the 1996 Society conference visited four
sites (all previously visited in 1994) and collected 16 plants
(three C. graecum, three C. confusum & ten C. creticum).

A report of the 1996 field study was published in the
Cyclamen Society Journal Vol. 20 No. 2, December 1996.

Abridged field notes referenced by site number follow this table.
Giving brief locational information and habitat data which may aid cultivation.

CSE Plants Central Crete, 1996.

If plant images are available they may be viewed by clicking on the purple CSE plant number.

CSE Plant No.Site No.SpeciesSubspeciesDescription
9600196/02C. graecumcandicumVery good leaf with dentate edges.
9602196/02C. creticumPale pink flowers (no leaves).
9602696/02C. creticumWhite, large flowers (no leaves).
9603796/02C. creticumVery robust plant, large pointed leaves, large white flowers.
9605596/05C. creticumCollected for leaf pattern and altitude (850m).
9605696/06C. creticumPink flowers, purple/red backed leaves.
9606596/06C. creticumPink flowers, purple/red backed leaves with reasonable silver pattern.
9607596/06C. creticumWhite flowers, very good leaf.
9610696/06C. creticumPink flowers, green backed leaves.
96106A96/06C. creticumTuber dug up with plant 96106, not in flower.
96106B96/06C. creticumTuber dug up with plant 96106, not in flower.
9610796/06C. creticumWhite flowers, green backed leaves.
9610996/07C. graecumcandicumSmall leaf with excellent pattern.
9611096/07C. graecumcandicumSilver centred leaf.
9611196/07C. graecumcandicumSilver leaf.
9614196/09C. creticumCollected as representative cif site. Reasonable leaves.
9619696/10C. creticumVery good speckled leaf.
9619796/10C. creticumVery good leaf.
9619896/10C. creticumVery good leaf.
9619996/11C. creticumVery bright silver leaves.
9620096/11C. creticumVery good silver leaf markings, pointed, cordate leaves with dentate margins and distinct ribbing on the reverse.
9620196/11C. creticumLeaves all-over silver wash with paler green areas.
9625296/12C. creticumFlower with 38mm petals with 360 degree twist.
9625396/12C. creticumCame up with plant 96252.
9625496/12C. creticumCollected for 36mm petals.
9625596/12C. creticumPink flowers.
9625696/12C. creticumAcuminate leaves, 98mm x 62mm.
96256A96/12C. creticumCame up with plant 96256.
96256B96/12C. creticumCame up with plant 96256.
9625796/12C. creticumCollected for leaves which resemble some forms of Cyclamen rhodium.
9625896/14C. creticumLeaves with very bright silver hastate pattern.
9625996/15C. creticumLeaves silver with a few flecks of green.
9626096/15C. creticumSilver leaves.
9626196/15C. creticumFoliate calyx and corolla.
9626296/15C. creticumBold leaves with silver markings and lobed edges.
9630596/18C. creticumFlowers with 35mm petals.
9630696/18C. creticumSpeckled leaves with no hastate pattern.
9635696/20C. creticumLeaves with bright silver hastate pattern and lobed edges.
9640696/23C. creticumLeaves with bold hastate pattern.
9640796/23C. creticumCame up with plant 96406.
9640896/23C. creticumSpeckled leaf.
9642296/25C. creticumPink flowers (100mm floral trunk).
9642396/25C. creticumLeaves with silver hastate pattern extending almost to centre of leaf. Slightly pink flowers. 125mm floral trunk.
9643096/25C. creticumPink flowers with 31mm petals.
9645996/26C. graecumcandicumPointed leaves with silver markings.
9646096/26C. graecumcandicumLeaves with silver blotches.
9646196/26C. graecumcandicumDark coloured leaf.
9646296/27C. creticumCollected for altitude (1000m).
9646396/27C. creticumCollected for altitude (1000m).
9646596/28C. graecumcandicumCollected for leaves.
9646696/28C. graecumcandicumCollected for leaves.
9646796/28C. graecumcandicumCollected for leaves.
9646896/28C. graecumcandicumCollected for leaves.
9646996/28C. creticumLeaves with silver hastate pattern.
9649596/30C. creticumLeaves with bright silver hastate pattern.
9649696/30C. creticumLeaves with bright silver hastate pattern.
9649796/30C. creticumLeaves with heavy silver spotting.
9652396/31C. graecumcandicumCollected for leaves.
9652496/31C. graecumcandicumCollected for leaves.
9652596/31C. graecumcandicumCollected for leaves.
9652696/31C. graecumcandicumCollected for leaves.
9655396/35C. creticum2n=20 site, collected for DNA analysis. Same site as 94/17.
9655496/35C. creticum2n=20 site, collected for DNA analysis. Same site as 94/17.
9655596/35C. creticum2n=20 site, collected for DNA analysis. Same site as 94/17.
9655696/35C. creticum2n=20 site, collected for DNA analysis. Same site as 94/17.
9655796/35C. creticum2n=20 site, collected for DNA analysis. Same site as 94/17.
9655896/36C. creticum2n=20 site, collected for DNA analysis. Same site as 94/06.
9655996/36C. creticum2n=20 site, collected for DNA analysis. Same site as 94/06.
9656096/36C. creticum2n=20 site, collected for DNA analysis. Same site as 94/06.
9656196/36C. creticum2n=20 site, collected for DNA analysis. Same site as 94/06.
9656296/36C. creticum2n=20 site, collected for DNA analysis. Same site as 94/06.
9656396/37C. confusumSame site as 94/13.
9656496/37C. confusumSame site as 94/13.
9656596/37C. confusumSame site as 94/13.
9656696/38C. graecumgraecumforma album plant. Same site as 94/05.
9656796/38C. graecumgraecumforma album plant. Same site as 94/05.
9656896/38C. graecumgraecumforma album plant. Same site as 94/05.

CSE Sites in Central Crete, Greece. 1996

If site images are available they may be viewed by clicking on the purple site number.


Kouloukonas Mountains. Between Sises and Aloides, 2.5km south of Rethymnon to Iraklion Road.
Altitude: 550m, Dense Prygana with predominant Pistachio. Cyclamen growing in open areas, out from rocks. Shade: 0- 50%; Aspect: Northwest; Slope: 1:4. Soil Terra Rossa. Growing conditions good, but confined to a limited area. Good regeneration.
Associated plants: Pistachio, Ceratonia siliqua, Cistus sp., Callictome villosa, Asphodeline lutea, Sarcopterum spinosum, Arum concinnatum, Geranium mole, G. robertianum, Veronica persica, Orchis quadripunctata, Iris unguicularis ssp. cretensis, Colchicum pusillum, Polygala verulosa, Labiates, Grasses.


Just out of Anogia village, heading into Nidha Plateau.
Altitude: 850m, Open Prygana, mostly Astragalus. Shade: small to 0%; Aspect: None; Slope: None; Soil: Light Terra Rossa with limestone outcrops and boulders. C. creticum growing in pockets within limestone rocks and in the shelter of both outcrops and Astragalus. Dry conditions with little sign of regeneration.
Associated plants: Astragalus sp., Dapne sericea, Iris unguicularis ssp. cretensis, Anenome heldreichii, Orchis quadripunctata, Orchis pauciflora, Gagea sp.,


Road from Iraklion, south to Pirgos. North of Ligortinos by the little church called Parathamna Tafeli. Altitude: 575m. Amongst large boulders and out into the open amongst grasses. Very small amount of scrub, mainly herbs and grasses and a very obvious and . prickly thistle – Notobasis syriaca. Plants healthy but limited distribution with few seedlings.
Associated plants: Phlomis cretica, Rubus, Sarcopterum spinosum, Bellis perennis, Ranunculus sp., Umbellifers, Drimia maritima, Allium subhirsutum, Notobasis syriaca, Silybum marianum, lavatera sp., Rumex acetosela, Arum concinnatum, Thymus sp.,


Southwest side of Psiloritis, southeast of Fourfouras on road to Kouroutes and Agia Galini.
Altitude: 590m. A mixture of open scree and patches of scrub with Quercus coccifera as reasonable sized trees (around 5m max.). growing in full sun in the scree (smallest leaves) to heavy shade under trees (larges leaves). Shade: 0-90%; Aspect: West-southwest; Slope: 1:1; Soil: Brown loam. Growing conditions average to good.
Associated plants: Quercus coccifera, Callicotome villosa, Euphorbia aacanthothamnus, Phlomis fruticosa, Iris unguicularis ssp. cretensis, Drimia maritima, Asphodeline lutea, Bituminaria bituminosa, Allium subhirsutum, Gagea graeca, Lonicera etrusca, Convulvulus altheoides, Osyris alba, Umbilicus rupestris, Geranium robertianum, Anenome heldreichii,grasses, composites, umbelliferates and various orchids.


Southwest side of Psiloritis, on road from Fourfouras and Moni Assomatos to Ag. fotini, Apostoli and Rethymnon.
Altitude: 500m. Under Plane tree with deep leaf litter at bottom of small site (about 5m x 3m) with sparse vegetation. Shade: 5%; Aspect: West; Slope: 1:1; Soil: Brown stony loam with leaf litter in varying depths. Limited opportunity for colony to spread, since adjacent habitats quite different.
Associated plants: Platanus orientalis, Drimia maritima, Euphorbia characias, Arisarum vulgare, Muscari comosum, Anagyris foetida, Carex sp., Geranium robertianum, Arum concinnatum, Sonchus sp., grasses.
On west side of road, opposite site 96/09, on western side of deep gulley there was a further, larger, inaccessible population.


Southwest side of Psiloritis on road between Foufouras and Rethymnon; halfway between Apostoli and Agia Fotini.
Altitude: 550m. Under dense canopy of Plane trees and shrubs along river banks, then up field margins to a deciduous wood at the top, which was thinly carpeted with C. creticum. Shade: 0-50%; Aspect: generally north; Slope: 1:4 by river, then 1:3 to top of slope; Soil: Grey loam. Very good growing conditions, in part excellent, some patches by river very dense. Thinly spread at top of site, but still very happy and regenerating well.
Associated plants: Platanus orientalis, Smilax, Rubus, Rosa smpervirens, Ruscus, Euphorbia characias, Quercus macrolepis, Quercus coccifera, Hedra helix, Arum concinnatum, Crataegus monogyra, Rumex acetosela, Erica arborea, Tamus comunis, Phlomis fruticolsa, Pistacia terebinthus, Callicotome villosa, Geranium robertianum, G. mole, Composites, grasses, umbelliferates.


South of Episkopi on the road from Argiroupolis towards Miriokefala and Arolithi. (Episkopi is on the old Chania to Rethymnon road).
Altitude: 330m. Gutter at side of road and in scrub above road. Shade: 0-90%; Aspect: North-northwest; Slope: 1:1; Soil: Brown loam. Growing conditions reasonable but plants fairly sparse.
Associated plants: Cupressus sempervirens, Styrax, Quercus coccifera, Pistacea terebinthus, Callicotome villosa, Ruscus, Erica manipuliflora, Ficus carica, Drimia maritima, Iris unguicularis ssp. cretensis, Asphodelus aestivus, Petromarula pinata, Euphorbia characias, Phlomis fruticosa, Geranium robertianum, G. mole, Dracunculus vulgaris, Sarcopterum spinosum, Anenome heldreichii, Selaginella, Helichrysum, grasses, composites, umbelliferates.


Gipari Gorge, between ‘Lappa’ area and Asigonia.
Altitude: 220m. Wooded river valley, some areas of leaf litter, others bare soil. Ground herbaceous vegetation other than Cyclamen, quite sparse. Cyclamen growing in hollow by road and against a north facing bouldered bank, the other side of which was a south facing bank to the river. Plants also growing on north facing bank of river. Some plants with very large flowers. Shade: 50-90%; Aspect: various; Slope: 1:10 (river), bank 1:1 to flat in gulley; Soil: Blackish brown loam. Very good growing conditions, masses of strong healthy plants and lots of regeneration.
Associated plants: Ceratonia, Geranium robertianum, Pistacea terebinthus, Styrax officinalis, Quercus coccifera, Platanus orientalis, Notobasis syriaca, Dracunculus vulgaris, Phillyrea, Petromarula pinata, Anenome heldreichii, Rosa sempervirens, Arisarum vulgare, Rumex acetosella, grasses, composites and umbelliferas.


Gipari Gorge, between ‘Lappa’ area and Asigonia.
Altitude: 250m. Wooded river valley. Shade: 50%; Aspect: North facing slope; Slope: 1: 1; Soil: Blackish brown loam with loose limestone rock. Growing conditions very good. Plants very, very happy in drifts along valley.
Associated plants: Platanus orientalis, Quercus coccifera, Phillyrea latifolia, Pistacea terebinthus, Smilax, Clematis cirrhosa, Geranium robertianum, Arum concinnatum, Dracunculus vulgaris, Arisarum vulgare, Notobasis syriaca, Ceterach, Gallium sp., Sarcopterum spinosum, Phlomis frticosa, Rosa sempervirens, Serapias vomeracea, Petromarula pinata, Composites, Umbelliferas, grasses, mosses.


Gipari Gorge, between ‘Lappa’ area and Asigonia.
Altitude: 250m. South side of wooded river valley. Shade: 70%; Aspect: North; Slope: 1:1; Soil: Blackish brown loam. Growing conditions very good.
Associated plants: Platanus orientalis, Pillyrea, Nerium oleander, Styrax, Laurus nobilis, Quercus coccifera, Hedera helix, Notobasis syriaca, Petromarula pinata, Dracunculus vulgaris, Geranium robertianum, G. mole, Tamus communis, Bryonia cretica, Rumex acetosella, Arisarum vulgare, Gallium, Selaginella, Clematis cirrhosa, Veronica persica, Delphinium staphisagria, Ranunculus ficaria, Athyrium felix-foemina.


On the Rethymnon to Spili road where the road crosses stream at north-west extremity of the village of Dariviana.
Altitude: 340m. Lush woodland stream with large patches of Cyclamen creticum on either bank growing especially with Oxalis pres-capae. Plane tree canopy with some Cupressus. Shade: 50-90%; Aspect: South-facing valley; Slope: Stream- 1:10; banks- 1:0.5; Soil: Grey-brown loam with leaf litter in patches. Growing conditions very good but restricted more or less to the two stream banks. A significant number of large flowers.
Associated plants: Platanus orientalis, Cupressus sempervirens, Hedera helix, Vitis vinifera, Smilax, Rubus sanctus, Nerium oleander, Euphorbia charaacias, Arum concinnatum, Athyrium felix-foemina, Pteridium aquilinum, Rubia, Petromarula pinata, Oxalis pres-capae, Geranium robertianum, Muscari comosum, Ranunculus ficaris, Selaginella, grasses, Composites, unbelliferas


On road from Kissou Kambos and the Agia Galini to Spili road, to Aktounda and Vatos. Just north of Vatos.
Altitude: 680m. Boulders and rock outcrops in grass; similar to site 96/19. Water seepage in grass. C. creticum thinly spread, but covering a reasonable area both above and below the road. Shade: 20%; Aspect: Northeast; Slope: 0 to 1:1 to 1:2. Soil: Grey-brown loam.
Associated Plants: Cistus, Spartium junceum, Iris unguicularis ssp. cretensis, Rubia, Erica manipuliflora, Callicotome villosa, Rubus sancta, Crataegus monogyna, Asphodelus aestivus, Arisarum vulgare, Asparagus, Ruscus, Geranium robertianum, Ranunculus sp., grasses, Cmposites, Umbelliferas, Mosses, Legumes.


Between Selia and Kato Rodakino, on the Plakias to Chora Sfakion road.
Altitude: 300m. Small valley under Plane trees with plenty of running water. Water snail present, possibly indicating permanent water. Plants growing on both sides of stream. Shade: 50%; Aspect: South-east facing valley; Slope: River 1:3, Sides 1:1 to 1:0.5; Soil: Grey-brown loam with a lot of mica. Growing conditions good.
Associated plants: Platanus orientalis, Hedera helix, Arum concinnatum, Petromarula pinata, Rumex sp., Geranium robertianum, Pteridium, Selaginella, Polypodium vulgare, Ficus carica, Adiantum, Asphodeline lutea, Tamus communis, grasses, Composites, Umbelliferas.
Texture of leaves for most plants felt more leathery i.e. thicker, than usual. No green backed leaves.


Aradhena Gorge in Sfakia.
Altitude: 530m. Cyclamen creticum only seen growing on north facing cliffs of gorge, from top to bottom. Most plants in occasional patches at bottom of gorge, growing both in the ground and in pockets of mosscovered rocks. Plenty of plants along rim of gorge. Slope: 1:0.25; Soil: Terra Rossa to Brown loam. Growing conditions reasonable.
Associated plants: Quercus ilex, Laurus nobilis, Pistacea terebinthus, Hedera helix, Lonicera etrusca, Quercus coccifera, Asphodeline lutea, Asphodelus aestivus, Drimia maritima, Galium, Ranunculus creticus, Notobasis syriacus, Ceterach, mosses, Euphorbia characias, Ballota pseudedictamnus, Valleriana asarifolia, Geranium mole, G. lucidum, G. robertianum, Clematis cirrhosa, Origanum microphyllum, Dracunculus vulgaris, Gagea graeca, Schrophularia peregrina, Delphinium staphisagria, Petromarula pinata, Anenome heldreichii, Ranunculus asiaticus, Saxifraga sp., Sternbergia sp., Crocus sp.


Imbros Gorge. North-east of Chora Sfakion on the Chania road.
Altitude: 725m. Open scrub on the east facing side of the gorge, also growing on the walls at the side of the gorge, with isolated plants growing below & chasmophytically in limestone outcrops/boulders. Shade: 0-25%; Aspect: East facing sides only; Slope: 1:1 to 1:0.25.
Associated Plants: Quercus coccifera, Acer sempervirens, Cupressus sempervirens, Phlomis fruticosa, Saxifraga chrysosplenifolia, Notobasis syriacus, Asphodeline lutea, Asphodelus aestivus, Rumex acetocellus, Geranium robertianum, G. lucidum, Veronica, Mosses, Grasses, Composites, Umbelliferas, Clematis sp.


Mount Akones. North-east of Chora Sfakion on the Chania road.
Altitude: 1000m. Gully in very open grassy habitat – a very exposed high altitude site. Some scrub and small trees. Shade: 0-20%; Aspect North-northwest; Slope: Valley 1:4, sides 1:1; Soil: Terra Rossa. Growing conditions poor. Plants growing under rocks and in shade of small trees.
Associated plants: Acer sempervirens, Verbascum spinosum, Euphorbia acanthothamnus, Ranunculus ficaria, R. spuneranus, Phlomis frtuicosa, Dracunculus vulgaris, Saxifraga chrysosplenifolia, Notobasis syriaca, Taraxacum sp., Anenome heldreichii, Arum idaeum, Rubus sanctus, Asphodeline lutea, Asphodelus aestivus, Drimia maritima, Crocus laevigatus, Hermodactylus tuberosa, Daphne sericea, Sedum sp.,Rumex acetocella, Geranium lucidum, Orchis quadripunctata, Ophrys fuciflora, Erica manipuliflora, Asparagus, grasses, Composites, Umbelliferas.


Just west of Kares on the Askifos Plain, North-northeast of Chora Sfakion on the Chania road.
Altitude: 725m. Cyclamen graecum growing amongst boulders thinly spread over a fairly wide site (at least 100m across) in fairly dense scrub. C. creticum much more limited within the distribution of C. graecum, in the same scrub. Shade: 0-90%; Aspect: East-southeast facing slope; Slope: 1:1; Soil: Terra Rossa; Growing conditions just reasonable for C. graecum, very poor relict population for C. creticum.
Associated plants: Quercus coccifera, Cupressus sempervirens, Phlomis fruticosa, Geranium robertianum, Erica manipuliflora, Notobasis syriaca, Ranunculus sp., Anenome heldreichii, Drimia maritima, Rubus anctus, Daphne sericea, Ruscus, Ceterach, Acanthus spinosus, Anacamptis pyramidalis, grasses, Composites, Umbelliferas


Southeast of Agiou Pandes on the old road from Chora Sfakion through Vrises to Neo Horio and Kalives.
Altitude: 125m. Very dense Cupressus sempervirens woodland, appearing to be of ancient lineage. Shade: 25-50+%; Aspect: North to Northeast; Slope: 1:1 to 1:0.5; Growing conditions very good. Typical dense woodland over a very large area; plants sporadically occuring throughout but regenerating very well.
Associated plants: Cupressus sempervirens, Smilax, Hedera helix, Quercus coccifera, Laurus nobilis, Selaginella, Petromarula pinata, Geranium robertianum, Lonicera etrusca, Bituminaria bitumina, Muscari comosum, Anenome heldreichii, Erica manipuliflora, Ranunculus ficaria, Anacamptis pyramidalis, Osyris alba, Ophrys litigiosa, mosses, grasses, Composites, Umbelliferas


On the west side of the road between Lakki and the Omalos Plain, opposite site 94/12.
Altitude: 1150m. High altitude Phrygana amongst rock outcrops and boulders. Shade: 0-25%; Aspect: South-southeast to southeast; Slope: 1:1; Soil: Dry, light, terra rossa with limestone rock fragments. Growing conditions appearing quite poor for both species. Cyclamen graecum more plentiful although mainly very small leaved in most of its open habitat. Inside scrub, producing very normal sized leaves. C. creticum in a smaller area but growing amonst C. graecum even in full sun all day.
Associated plants: Quercus coccifera, Daphne sericea, Cupressus sempervirens, Thymus sp., Rhamnus sp., Asphodeline lutea, Phlomis fruticosa, Asphodelus aestivus, Anenome heldreichii, Sedum sp., Taraxacum sp., Aethionema saxatile, Helichrysum sp., Ranunculus sp., Erica manipuliflora, Geranium robertianum, Asparagus sp., Verbascum spinosum, grasses, Composites, Umbelliferas.

96/35 (same site as 94/17)

West of Omalos, above and north-northwest of Aghia Irini, on west side of road.
Altitude: 780m. Aspect: 45 degree slope to northeast. Shade: 20%. Soil: Schist. Plants growing under Chestnut grove.
Associated plants: Castarea sativa, Arbutus unedo, Erica arborea, Pteridium aquilinum, grasses, Selaginella, Bellis perennis, Arisarum vulgare, Primula vulgaris, Geranium robertianum, Listera ovata, Platanus orientalis, Inula hirsuta, Muscari comosum. 
2N=20 site.

96/36 (same site as 94/06)

On pathway to Agios Stefanos (9th century Byzantine church), south of Spilia, to the south of the Rodopos Peninsula.
Altitude: 50m. Aspect: Woodland on north facing slope of 0-90 degrees. Shade: 20-90%. Soil: Moist heavy clay. Blue clay near surface. ph 9.4-10.2 Under stress in woodland, but lush adjacent to path to church.
Associated plants: Quercus petraea, Platanus orientalis Rubus fruticosa, Styrax officianalis, Smilax aspera, Erica arborea, Selaginella, Oxalis pres-caprae, Pteridium aquilinum, Clematis cirrhosa, Hedera helix, Myrtus communis, Euphorbia characias, grasses, sedges, mosses.
2n=20 site

96/37 (same site as 94/13)

South of Kastelli, South of Topolia, below church of Agia Sofia.
Altitude: 250m. Aspect: Slope of 1:1 to north-northeast. Shade: 50%. Ground cover sparse, carpetted with pine needle litter up to 150mm thick under canopy of trees. Soil:Thick sandy soil.
Associated plants: Pinus brutia, Cupressus sempervirens, Styrax officianalis, Mandragora autumnalis, Hedera helix, Ruscus aculeatus, Salvia officinalis, Phlomis fruticosa, Arisarum vulgare, Euphorbia charcacias, grasses, Smilax aspera, Urginea maritima, Allium subhirsutum, Geranium robertianum, Eryngium campestre, Galium sp., Dracunculus vulgare, Acanthus spinosissimus.

96/38 (same site as 94/05)

Astratigos on the Rodopou Peninsula.
Altitude: 95m. Open scrub, Aspect: 40-45 degree slope facing southeast. Shade: 0-40%, Soil: ph 10.2 Terra rossa with limestone, low in organic matter.
A good population of Cyclamen graecum forma album. Associated plants: Rhamnus lycoides ssp. graecus, Genista acanthoclada, Phlomis fruticosus, Asphodelus sp., grasses, Ornithogalum sp., etc.