Cyclamen Society Field Study: North-eastern Greece 2016

This study of C. hederifolium was a continuation of the 2014 field work undertaken in
Northern Greece, which was in turn, part of a series of Field Studies
started in 2007 which set out to answer these questions:

  • C. hederifolium subsp. crassifolium, how widely is
    it distributed and where are the geographical
    boundaries between this subspecies and
    subsp. hederifolium.
  • Is it possible to look at plants in their
    natural habitat, and make an accurate
    judgement based solely on their morphology.

Laboratory work would include DNA analysis and Flow Cytometry.
Together with the previous studies undertaken in Greece, we would
also add to our knowledge of the distribution of the hederifolium
and crassifolium subspecies.

Although no live plants were collected during this field study. 18 sites were
surveyed, with leaf samples taken from one plant from each site
for herbarium specimens and laboratory analysis.

Reports of the 2016 field studies were published in the
Cyclamen Society Journal Vol. 40 No. 2, December 2016.

CSE Plants and Sites North-east Greece, 2016.

Plant and Site images may be viewed by clicking on the purple numbers.

CSE Plant No.Site NoSpeciesSubspecies based on the morphology as seen in the field [1]Ploidy from flow cytometry analysis
1600116/01C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1600216/02C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1600316/03C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1600416/04C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1600516/05C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1600616/06C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1600716/07C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1600816/08C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1600916/09C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1601016/10C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1601116/11C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1601216/12C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1601316/13C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1601416/14C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1601516/15C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1601616/16C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1601716/17C. hederifoliumhederifolium, maybe crassifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1601816/18C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)

[1] In 2009 when C. confusum was raised to specific level, it was felt that something had to be done about the plants on the Peloponnese, that had hitherto been referred to as C. hederifolium subsp. confusum. Otherwise, what would they be called? They had previously been considered sufficiently different, not to be referred to as C. hederifolium subsp hederifolium, and that hadn’t changed.

The taxon adopted was C. hederifolium subsp crassifolium as the morphology (appearance) of the plants in question, coincided with Freidrich Hildebrand’s 1907 C. crassifolium. The description of Hildebrand’s crassifolium, relies entirely on the morphology of the leaves, citing their thick, fleshy and glossy appearance and distinct angular 5, 7 or 9 sided shape.
At the time (2009) the molecular results, the cytology, and the morphology all lined up i.e. subsp, hederifolium were diploid plants 2n=34 and had thin leaves, subsp. crassifolium were tetraploid plants 2n=68 and had thick leaves.

However, as a result of these field studies our data set has increased considerably. The results so far, seem to suggest that there may be plants with thick leaves, that are only diploid 2n=34, and plants with thin leaves that are tetraploid 2n=68, and vice versa. Meaning that both subsp. hederifolium and subsp. crassifolium contain both diploid and tetraploid plants.

It must be remembered that regardless of the cytology, the description is based on the morphology, which therefore takes precedence.

This research is very much a ‘work in progress’ and ongoing, and as with all good research could be subject to change.
Readers are invited to read the journal article ‘Species, subspecies and the Cyclamen hederifolium complex’ – Cyclamen Society Journal Dec. 2020 pgs. 120-130.

Map of North-east Greece showing locations of C. hederifolium sites surveyed. Map data © 2016 Google