Cyclamen Society Field Study: Turkey 1997

The first year of a three year study to investigate the distribution and variation in C. alpinum
(C. cilicium, C. coum, C. hederifolium, C. mirabile & C. persicum were also encountered) 
in the Antalya, Bileçik, Denizli, Isparta and Mugla provinces South-western
Turkey April 1997.

On 14 March 1996, the Secretary of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Joint
Rock Garden Plant Committee, Dr A C Lesley, wrote to Peter Moore
about variation in C. alpinum:

‘At recent meetings of the Joint Rock Garden Plant Committee there has been
some discussion relating to the forms of this species in cultivation. In particular
the apparently distinctive character of what are known to be higher altitude
collections compared with those from lower elevations: in large part a question
of size (many other characters being variable within each group)’.

He continues: ‘Dr Chris Grey-Wilson has drawn attention to the fact that the type
material is probably from a high altitude collection and represents the smaller plants
in cultivation. what seems to be unknown is the degree of intergradation between
the two extremes and whether there is much if any variation in size within populations
if there is relatively little intergradation and little intra-population variation in size it
might be useful to produce suitable names for the two groups (if only for horticultural
use). The Joint Committee requested that I contact you to see if the Cyclamen
Society would be prepared to add the field work necessary to answer these questions
to their programme of research.’

This, then provided the background for these field studies.

A report of the 1997 field study was published in the
Cyclamen Society Journal Vol. 22 No. 1, June 1998.

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

CSE Plants South-western Turkey, 1997.

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

CSE Plant No.Site No.SpeciesDescription
97001T97/05TC. alpinumRed veins in centre of leaf. Low altitude form (350m).
97002T97/05TC. alpinumLeaves silver-washed.
97003T97/09TC. alpinumHigh altitude form (1670m). Serpentine.
97004T97/09TC. alpinumHigh altitude form (1670m). Serpentine.
97005T97/10TC. alpinumLeaves with red veins at centre. Red reverse colour coming through on outer ¼ of top.
97006T97/10TC. alpinumFloriferous, deep flower colour, strong scent.
97007T97/10TC. alpinumCollected for altitude (1770m), Baba Dag.
97008T97/14TC. alpinumCollected for square petals – C. coum-like. Altitude 1440m.
97009T97/14TC. alpinumStrong leaf pattern.
97010T97/14TC. alpinumGood leaf pattern with ‘silver’ centre.
97011T97/12TC. alpinumFlower colour vivid pink.
97012T97/12TC. alpinum‘Whirligig’ flower, deep vivid pink.
97013T97/12TC. alpinumTiny leaves.
97014T97/16TC. alpinumLow altitude form (390m). Leaf mainly silvery green.
97015T97/20TC. alpinumLeaf with bright silvery flecks, hastate pattern triangular.
97016T97/24TC. alpinumSoil pH=6.8. Plants possibly easier to grow. Leaf pattern good. Altitude 940m.
97017T97/24TC. alpinumSoil pH=6.8. Plants possibly easier to grow. Leaf pattern good. Altitude 940m.
97018T97/24TC. alpinumSoil pH=6.8. Plants possibly easier to grow. Leaf pattern good. Altitude 940m.
97019T97/27TC. ciliciumAltitude 1190m. Plants near limits for distribution of cilicium and alpinum.
97020T97/27TC. ciliciumAltitude 1190m. Plants near limits for distribution of cilicium and alpinum.
97021T97/27TC. ciliciumAltitude 1190m. Plants near limits for distribution of cilicium and alpinum.
97022T97/27TC. ciliciumAltitude 1190m. Plants near limits for distribution of cilicium and alpinum.
97023T97/28TC. ciliciumGood leaf pattern shape.

CSE Sites South-west Turkey, 1997

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


16/04/97 Bileçik province. Bilecik to Bozuyuk road, south of Bilecik.
Altitude: 10m. Shade: 0-90%, Aspect: West; Slope: 10-15º; Soil: Humus rich.
Habitat: Flat meadow-like area on terrace less than 2m above road on left side going south, and banks to 10-15º. Most Cyclamen in dappled shade, moist, soil with significant humus content (up to 50%).
Cyclamen coum growing with: Primula vulgaris, Cornus mas, Viola odorata.


17/04/97 Denizli province. Near Buyuk Kanak on road to Acipayam.
Altitude: 35m. Shade: 0%; Aspect: Northeast; Slope: 20º; Soil pH: 7.7; Soil: Limestone scree with thick muddy layer below – wet.
Habitat: Open aspect in scree of limestone, formed by small talus slopes at foot of cliff. Some limestone modified partly to marble. Growing conditions moist & sunny. Coarse scree on top of fine material. Last of melting snow patches present. Many plants at extreme foot of talus not in flower. Goat droppings. A site for Cyclamen alpinum with apparently good regeneration. Another population was observed 0.5km to west, growing in soil derived from serpentine.
No associated plants on scree, but Juniperus and Phillyrea scrub on adjacent bluffs.


20/04/97 Mugla province. Northwest of Mugla, just beyond Yatagan, west of road to Aydin, up forestry track.
Slope: 20 – 30º; Soil pH: 6.9; Soil: Humus rich red soil over serpentine.
Habitat: Open glades of Pinus brutia. Lush growing conditions with streams coming down slope.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Anenome pavonina, Lavendula stoechas.


19/04/97 Mugla province. On southern arm of Marmaris Peninsula, north of castle at end of peninsula.
Altitude: 0-270m. Shade: 0-100%; Slope: 0-30º; Soil: Terra Rossa between rocks.
Habitat: Rock crevices in deep shade under trees. All aspects. Cyclamen petered out when conditions changed to ‘soil with rocks’ rather than ‘rock with soil in crevices’, and grass started.
Cyclamen persicum growing with: Pistacio terebinthus, Quercus coccifera, Anacamptis pyramidalis albus, Urginea maritima, Narcissus tazetta


20/04/97 Mugla province. On Datça branch of the Marmaris Peninsula, some 20-30km from Marmaris. Same location as site 99/06T.
Altitude: 350m. Shade: 90%; Aspect: South; Slope: 35°; Soil: Rich humus, derived from serpentine.
Habitat: Low scrub to 2.3m. Growing below low underscrub, moist, but this was possibly due to recent heavy rain. Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Cupressus sempervirens, Arbutus andrachne, Cistus salvifolius, Genista sp., Euphorbia acanthothamnos, Anthemis sp., Phillyrea latifolia, Ruscus sp., Fritillaria forbesii, Lilium candidum.


20/04/97 Mugla province. On southern branch of Marmaris Peninsula, near Kastabos, on Bozburun to Marmaris road.
Altitude: 40m Aspect: West; Soil: Humus rich red soil over limestone.
Habitat: Growing on lower areas of slope, where possibly there was more moisture. Most leaves of C. hederifolium were large, similar to those of Crete and other islands. Cyclamen hederifolium growing with: Pinus brutia, Pistacio, Styrax officianalis, Myrtus communis, Smilax aspera.


20/04/97 Mugla province. On Road 400 leading north from Marmaris.
Altitude: 75m. Shade: 95-100%; Aspect: East and West; Slope: 0-10°; Soil pH: 7.2; Soil: Derived from limestone.
Habitat: Cyclamen alpinum growing in Pinus brutia and Smilax aspera woodland, with Styrax and Liquidamber, near stream.
Growing conditions: Rather dry on slope near river, wetter on east facing side. Soil rich with pine needle humus. Little understorey other than grass.


20/04/97 Mugla province. East-southeast of Mugla. Sandras Dag, above village of Agla.
Altitude: 130m. Shade: 50%; Aspect: South; Slope: 20-30°; Soil pH: 7.2, pH of stream water 8.4; Soil: Heavy red soil derived from Serpentine.
Habitat: Open woodland, very sparse ground cover. Cyclamen very sparse. Probably very dry in normal circumstances, but heavy rain had fallen two days previously. Soil humus-rich with pine needles. Cyclamen alpinum in mixed Pinus brutia and P. nigra woodland. Very sparse understorey with Quercus coccifera.


20/04/97 Mugla province. East-southeast of Mugla. Sandras Dag, above village of Agla.
Altitude: 1670m. Open woodland. Shade: 20%; Aspect: West; Slope: 10°; Soil pH: 7.3; Soil: Serpentine derived soil with pine needles.
Habitat: Soil moist. Exposed slopes. Drifts of late snow. Cyclamen alpinum under Pinus nigra with virtually no understorey.


21/04/97 Mugla province. Mendes Dag, near Fethiye.
Altitude: 1440m. Shade: 100%; Aspect: North; Slope: 10-90°; Soil pH: 8.3; Soil type: Rich red soil over limestone.
Habitat: North facing cliffs and slopes thinly covered by mainly Cedrus libani. Moist soil in crevices, on ledges and under Cedar. Heavy soil, humus rich. A large population.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Phlomis fruticosa, Quercus coccifera, Colchicum macrophyllum, Sternbergia candida, Chionodoxa forbesii, Cedrus libani, Juniperus foetidissima, Gagea sp., Corydalis ?wendelboi


21/04/97 Mugla province. Erin Dag, on road 350, northeast from Fethiye.
Altitude: 1310m. Shade: 0-100%; Aspect: East; Slope: 10-15°; Soil: Limestone & Metamophic. Growing conditions: Good.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Daphne gnidioides, Quercus coccifera, Juniperas sp., Pinus nigra, Euphorbia rigida, Phlomis fruticosa


22/04/97 Mugla province. Near Camkyusii, east of Kemer.
Altitude: 1650m. Shade: 0-90%; Aspect: West; Slope: 30º; Soil pH: 9.2; Soil Type: Fine loam + Cedar litter.
Habitat: Deep dark brown moist soil mixed with cedar needles, beneath cedars/junipers out into open scree in clearings. Cyclamen vary in site position from dense shade under roots of junipers to open scree. Population 10m x 10m (core 50m in diameter).
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Cedrus libani, Juniperus ?excelsa, Corydalis ?wendelboi, Anenome blanda, Gagea sp.


22/04/97 Antalya province. Sinekcibeli gec, between Kas and Elmali.
Altitude: 1490m. Shade: 20-30%; Aspect: All aspects at top of pass; Slope: 0-10º; Soil pH: 10.1; Soil Type: Rich from limestone & brechia with pine needle and grass humus.
Habitat: Open forest, exposed and very dry in summer. Plants past flowering and thinly scattered in all aspects.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Juniperus encelsa, Cedrus libani, Viola heldreichii, Phlomis fruticosa, Euphorbia cochiane, Veronica lyrica, Aubrietia deltoide, Gaea sp.,


22/04/97 Antalya province. Karaovabeli Gec south of Akcay between Kas and Elmali.
Altitude: 1580m. Shade: 0-75%; Aspect: North-west; Slope: 35-45º; Soil pH: 9.2; Soil Type: Loam with Cedar needles on limestone.
Habitat: Open Cedrus/Juniperus forest (more open because of thinning). Moist soil in scree and under rocks & boles of trees. Good leaf patterns here, flowers rather large.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Cedrus libani, Juniperus ?foetida, Eranthis cilicica, Geranium tuberosum, Scilla bifolia var. polyphylla, Corydalis sp.


23/04/97 Antalya province. Kursunlu, on road north from the coast road at Aksu, near Perge, to Lake Karacaoren.
Altitude: 360m. Terrace just above broad river, open shade. Moist but hot. Sparse habitat. Shade: 10%; Aspect: South; Slope: 0º; Soil pH: 9.5, River water pH 11.4; Soil Type: Limestone derived with leaf litter. Lowest altitude population found in this area. Large leaves 40-50mm length.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Platanus orientalis, Pinus brutia, Nerium oleander, Cistus salvifolius, Euphorbia rigida, Phillyrea latifolia.


23/04/97 Antalya province. Kursunlu, on road north from the coast road at Aksu, near Perge, to Lake Karacaoren.
Altitude: 390m. Shade: 0-50%; Aspect: South; Slope: 0º; Soil Type: Limestone derived + Platanus leaves., sandy & silty. Flat terrace just above river level. Very open shade of Platanus.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Platanus orientalis, Quercus coccifera, Muscari sp., Arum dioscorides.


23/04/97 Antalya province. Kursunlu, on road north from the coast road at Aksu, near Perge, to Lake Karacaoren.
Altitude: 860m. Shade: 0-100%; Aspect: open; Slope: 20-70º; Soil pH: 10.5; Soil Type: Pine needle chaff over limestone.
Habitat: Cyclamen growing only in limestone crevices and in shattered rock with decomposing pine needles filtering down. No soil apparent. When rock lumps removed, everything disappears below. No Cyclamen in open areas under pines. Majority of leaves cordate, ie. longer than broad, unlike other populations seen so far. Leaf pattern and brightness in general better than elsewhere.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Pinus brutia, Daphne sericea, Daphne oleoides, Quercus coccifera.


23/04/97 Isparta province. Road from the Coast road near Antalya (Kamluca) to Egirdir, near Kovada Milli Parki.
Altitude: 1030m. Shade: 0%; Aspect: Northeast & Southwest; Slope: 10º; Soil Type: Heavy, derived from limestone. On and under limestone, under Quercus coccifera.
Habitat: Open Quercus plantation (no leaf), sparse.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Quercus sp., Quercus coccifera, Saxifraga sp. (large), Scophulariacea.


23/04/97 Isparta province. South-southwest of Lake Kovada on road to Sutculer, near Kovada Milli Parki.
Altitude: 870m. Shade: 50%; Aspect: West, south, and east; Slope: 0-20º; Soil Type: Limestone derived, much pine chaff.
Habitat: Open Pinus brutia forest with limestone outcrops and broken scree slopes. Soil still slightly damp but drying out rapidly. Many plants in rock crevices, but also in soil on slopes. Cordate leaves similar to site 97/17T.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Pinus brutia, Quercus coccifera, Phlomis fruticosa, Juniperus sp.


23/04/97 Isparta province. Near Kovada Milli Parki and Kuzna.
Altitude: 1250m. Shade: 0-50%; Aspect: West Southwest; Slope: Variable 0-90º; Soil: Limestone derived with pine needles.
Habitat: Vertical crevices; under roots of large Junipers, very few in open. Moist soil and damp humousy cracks. Whole atmosphere ‘feels’ damp. The deep gorge has a sizeable river at the bottom. This is an almost pure stand of Juniperus – no Pinus.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Juniperus ?excelsa, Quercus sp., Quercus coccifera, Corydalis sp., Asplenium sp., Arum sp., Mosses.


24/04/97 Isparta province. Egirdir to Barla road, near Barla.
Altitude: 990m. Shade: 20-50%; Aspect: East; Slope: 10-30%; Soil pH: 10.2; Soil Type: Sticky, heavy, reddish clay, limestone derived with humus from Quercus coccifera leaves.
Habitat: Scattered Quercus coccifera (heavily grazed) and Juniperus. Cyclamen in the Quercus bushes, not under Juniperus. Occasionally in the open and in rock crevices. Quite variable, some with a very contrasty silver pattern. Young fruits present.
Cyclamen mirabile growing with: Quercus coccifera, Crataegus sp., Juniperus ?excelsa, Euphorbia rigida, Ajuga, Alkanna, Hyacinthella sp., Ornithogalum sp., Arum sp.


25/04/97 Isparta province. In the Sutculer area, south of Kasimlar on the road which runs south from Egirdir.
Altitude: 894m. Shade: 40-50%; Aspect: Mainly south; Slope: 0-20º; Soil pH: 12.2; Soil Type: Limestone derived humus rich soil.
Habitat: Cyclamen mainly in bases of deciduous bushes. Soil very moist from recent rain. Dappled shade at time of visit, but would be dry and heavily shaded in summer when deciduous bushes leaf out. Sudden change into warmer, limestone ‘Mediterranean’ country and C. alpinum re-appears. Further north, cooler conditions on heavy clay with many streams, Primula vulgaris, Viola sp. ?canina, etc – ‘Euro-siberian’ type habitat, and C. alpinum absent.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Pinus brutia, Euphorbia rigida, Arum sp., Juniperus ?communis, Orchis sp., Ophrys sp., and a deciduous shrub, possibly Rosaceae.


25/04/97 Isparta province. In the Sutculer area, south of Kasimlar, near Kesme.
Altitude: 1037m. Shade: 50%; Aspect: East; Slope: 45º; Soil pH: 7.1; Soil Type: Sandstone derived, pale brown, sticky.
Habitat: Cyclamen growing in dappled shade under deciduous bushes among sandstone outcrops.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Crataegus (Hawthorn), Prunus sp., Verbascum sp., Valeriana sp.


26/04/97 Isparta province. On eastern side of Lake Egirdir, to the east of Sofular. Same location as site 98/19T.
Altitude: 940m. Shade: 0% in rocks, 100% under Quercus coccifera; Aspect: East; Slope: 20-25º; Soil pH: 6.8; Soil Type: Moist, heavy limestone soil with humus.
Habitat: Sloping, scrub-dotted hillside with flatter areas cultivated. Cyclamen confined to bases of bushes – deciduous and evergreen. Moist heavy soil in dappled shade, some denser shade. Distinctly ‘Mediterranean element’ plants, but this time soil pH lower.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Quercus coccifera, Quercus sp., Paliurus spina-christi, Euphorbia rigida, Muscari sp. ? M. armeriacum, Centaurea sp., Prunus aff. spinosum, Crataegus sp.


26/04/97 Insparta province. Between the southern tip of Lake Egirdir and Gokcehuyuk.
Altitude: 110m. Aspect: South; Slope: 70º; Soil pH: 6.2; Soil Type: Mixture of shattered sandstone overlaid with limestone and quartz intrusion.
Habitat: Cyclamen growing in bases of deciduous bushes, scattered Juniperus and Pinus. Moist, heavy soil on steep bank, drying out later. Cyclamen only recently flowered but leaves wilting already in hot sun. Good leaves of a generally interesting pattern although nothing spectacular.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Crataegus, Pinus brutia, Quercus sp. (deciduous), Euphorbia sp. aff. wulfenii.


26/04/97 Isparta province. East of the southern tip of Lake Egirdir, beyond site 97/25T and southeast of Gokcehuyuk.
Altitude: 1250m. Shade: 50-80%; Aspect: East; Slope 10-70º; Soil pH: 6.8 (water in stream), 6.9 (soil next to plants); Soil Type: soft, crumbling.
Habitat: Open hillside and fields with sparse Quercus coccifera in gulleys. Soil moist at time of visit, sunbaked later. Cyclamen in dappled shade. A little humus from Quercus coccifera leaves.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Quercus coccifera, Romulea crocea.


27/04/97 Isparta province. To the west of Yenisarbademli (on Lake Beysehir), southeast of Aksu on the southeast side of the pass.
Altitude: 1030m. Shade: 0-10%; Aspect: South; Slope: 20-30º; Soil pH: 8.3; Soil Type: Derived from limestone, with pine needle chaff.
Habitat: Largely limestone habitat dotted with Pinus and Juniperus. Cyclamen mainly in shade under trees, but some in open or under rocks. Tubers shallow. Growing conditions lush, wet at time of visit but suspected of drying out later.
Cyclamen cilicium growing with: Juniperus ?excelsa, Pinus brutia, Quercus cerris, Phlomis fruticosa, Euphorbia sp., Colchicum variegatum, Muscari armeniacum, Fritillaria ?pinardii


27/04/97 Antalya province. Just south of Cevizli on the Beysehir to Akseki road.
Altitude: 1060m. Shade: 20-30%; Aspect: East to South; Slope: 0-10º; Soil pH: 7.7; Soil type: Limestone derived, enriched with pine needles (3-6cm layer).
Habitat: Moist soil, humid, cool atmosphere; thin cover of vegetation beneath pines; many rocks. Cyclamen growing around rocks and beneath trees. ‘Alpine feel’ to climate.
Cyclamen cilicium growing with: Pinus ?nigra, Abies cilicia, Muscari armeniacum, Quercis sp. (deciduous).


27/04/97 Antalya province. On Beysehir-Akseki-‘coast’ road, south of Akseki.
Altitude: 70m Shade: 30-40%; Aspect: North, west and east; Slope: 0-20º; Soil pH: 8.4; Soil type: Moist brown-red soil, limestone derived.
Habitat: Cyclamen growing mainly at the base of Quercus coccifera and Juniperus. Moist soil, very cool, possibly frost at night still. Very variable leaf patterns, all with rounded lobes leaving ‘hole’ at point of petiole.
Cyclamen cilicium growing with: Quercus coccifera, Juniperus sp., grasses, perennial herbs.


28/04/97 Antalya province. On the Antalya to Manavgat coastal road 400, just west of Kamluca & Aksu.
Altitude: 480m. Shade: 80-90%; Aspect: North; Slope: almost vertical; Soil Type: Limestone derived soil with pine needle litter. Cyclamen growing in almost vertical rock crevices, moist at time of visit.
Cyclamen alpinum growing with: Pinus brutia, Phlomis, Smilax aspera, Ornithogalum obigophyllum, Rhodiola sp.,, Arum sp., Lathyrus sp.

Acknowledgements. We wish to express our thanks to the Turkish Government for granting us research permits for this project, and to Prof. Nerirnan Ozhatay (Istanbul University) and Prof. Tuna Ekirn (Gazi University, Ankara) for their invaluable assistance in the preparations. Special thanks go to Andy Byfield (Plant Conservation Officer Turkey, of Fauna & Flora International) and Sema Atay (Plant Section Co-ordinator of DHKD, the Turkish Society for the Protection of Nature). We are also grateful to several friends and colleagues who gave us advance information about sites in which they had seen the species during vacation visits. The 1997 survey was financed by The Cyclamen Society, together with grants for individual members of the team from the Royal Horticultural Society and the Alpine Garden Society.