Cyclamen Society Field Study: Northern Greece & Peloponnessos 2014

This study of C. hederifolium was a continuation of the field work undertaken
in the Ionian islands in Corfu 2007, Zakynthos 2008 and Kefaloniá 2011,
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 we would add to our knowledge
of the distribution of the hederifolium and crassifolium subspecies.

Although no live plants were collected during this field study. 23 sites were
surveyed, with leaf samples collected from 21 plants at 20 sites,
for herbarium specimens and laboratory analysis.

A report of the 2014 field study was published in the
Cyclamen Society Journal Vol. 39 No. 1, June 2015.

CSE Plants and Sites Northern Greece & Peloponnessos, 2014.

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

CSE Plant No.Site No.SpeciesSubspecies based on the morphology as seen in the field[1]Ploidy from flow cytometry analysis
1400114/01C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1400214/02C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1400314/03C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1400414/03C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1400514/04C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1400614/06C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1400714/07C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1400814/08C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=68 (Tetraploid)
1400914/09C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=68 (Tetraploid)
1401014/11C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=68 (Tetraploid)
1401114/12C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1401214/13C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1401314/14C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1401414/16C. hederifoliumhederifolium2n=34 (Diploid)
1401514/17C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=68 (Tetraploid)
1401614/18C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=68 (Tetraploid)
1401714/19C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=68 (Tetraploid)
1401814/20C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=68 (Tetraploid)
1401914/21C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=68 (Tetraploid)
1402014/22C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=68 (Tetraploid)
1402114/23C. hederifoliumcrassifolium2n=68 (Tetraploid)
* Site surveyed, but no samples collected

[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 showing the locations where leaf samples were collected during the field studies in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2014. Red = C. hederifolium subsp. hederifolium; Green = C. hederifolium subsp. crassifolium.
Map data © Basarsoft, Google 2015

Acknowledgement. We thank Mrs Georgia Konstantakopoulou from the Athens CITES team for her assistance with granting approval for this field study.