Cyclamen Society Field Study: Western Crete 1994

In 1991 the Cyclamen Society embarked upon a study of the subgenus
Psilanthum, more commonly referred to as the Repandum group of

The aim was to establish the distribution of the various
species and subspecies, study the environmental conditions in
which they grow, and record statistical information about
variations in leaf and petal dimensions, shape, patterns and colour.

Although Saunders (1979) described C. creticum as ‘very abundant in
Crete’, Turland, Chiltern & Press (1993) gave a relatively restricted distribution
with the majority of populations concentrated at the western end, limited
populations in the east, and two isolated populations in the centre of the island.

The first Field Study in 1994 visited the western end of Crete recording 20 sites, finding many more populations, and collecting 41 plants (4 graecum, 5 hederifolium & 32 creticum).

In 1995 the drier eastern end of Crete was visited, and C. creticum was found to be far more extensively distributed than had previously been recorded. 29 sites were visited and 28 plants collected (1 graecum, 3 persicum & 24 creticum).

In 1996, Crete was visited twice, a spring trip surveyed 33  sites and collected 61 plants (15 graecum & 46 creticum). An October trip in combination with the 1996 Society conference visited 4 sites (all previously visited in 1994) and collected 16 plants (3 graecum, 3 confusum & 10 creticum).

A report of the 1994 field study was published in the
Cyclamen Society Journal Vol. 18 No. 2, December 1994.

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

CSE Plants Western Crete, 1994.

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

CSE Plant No.Site No.SpeciesSubspeciesDescription
CSE9404294/02C. creticumGood hastate leaf.
CSE9404394/02C. creticumGood hastate leaf, robust plant.
CSE9404494/02C. creticumRobust plant, hastate and speckled leaf.
CSE9404594/05C. graecumgraecum24mm tuber, leaves with bold rounded silver centre.
CSE9404694/05C. graecumgraecum95mm tuber, leaves with bold rounded silver centre.
CSE9406994/06C. creticum
CSE9407094/06C. creticum
CSE9407194/06C. creticum
CSE9407294/06C. creticum
CSE9407394/08C. creticumLeaves bold silver, green centre.
CSE9410194/08C. creticumLeaves plain green with very few spots.
CSE9412794/10C. creticumSlight pink nose to flower. 150mm floral trunk. 42mm diameter tuber.
CSE9412894/10C. creticumLeaf similar to C. repandum ssp. peloponnesiacum. 18mm floral trunk. Tuber 26mm dia.
CSE9412994/10C. creticumPetals all pale pink. 36mm tuber.
CSE9413094/10C. creticumPetals all pale pink. 15mm tuber.
CSE9413194/10C. creticumPink petals with darker sinus. 42mm tuber.
CSE9413294/10C. creticumLeaf similar to C. rhodium ssp. peloponnesiacum. 12mm tuber.
CSE9413394/10C. graecumcandicumTuber 60mm diameter, 3 floral trunks, longest was 125mm. Small dark leaves.
CSE9413494/10C. graecumcandicumConsidered to be seedling of 94133. 18mm tuber. Dark small leaves.
CSE9418594/11C. creticumGood heavy spotting to leaf, like C. rhodium ssp. peloponnesiacum.
CSE9421194/12C. creticumLeaves like C. rhodium ssp. peloponnesiacum.
CSE9421294/12C. creticumFlowers very pale pink, leaves plain green.
CSE9421394/12C. creticum
CSE9421494/12C. creticumBold leaf.
CSE9421594/12C. creticum
CSE9421694/13C. confusumPetioles like C. africanum.
CSE9421794/13C. confusumBold leaf markings.
CSE9421894/13C. confusumBold leaf markings.
CSE9421994/13C. confusumLeaves like C. rohlfsianum.
CSE9422094/13C. confusumLeaves with silver centre.
CSE9422194/14C. creticum
CSE9422294/14C. creticum
CSE9422394/14C. creticum
CSE9427594/15C. creticumPink flowers.
CSE9427694/15C. creticumSilver splash on leaves.
CSE9427794/15C. creticumPale pink nose.
CSE9427894/15C. creticumPale pink nose.
CSE9427994/16C. creticum
CSE9430594/17C. creticum15mm floral trunk. Pink flowers. Plain green leaves.
CSE9430694/17C. creticumGood silver splashes on leaves.
CSE9430794/17C. creticum60mm floral trunk. Tuber 45mm diameter. Dentate leaf margin.

CSE Sites Western Crete, Greece 1994

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


North of Rodopou town, Rodopou Peninsula.
Altitude: 500m. Aspect: South facing Slope: 0-1:1. Very dry in summer. Shade: 0-30%, Soil: ph 10.2 Terra Rossa, low in leafmould.
Growing with: Ranunculus creticus, Gynandriris monophyllum + spiny shrubs
Limited number of C. graecum in fairly poor condition


West Coast of Crete, north of Sfinari.
Altitude: 250m. Gully with water cover flowing down northeast side (6.5 metre cliff). Plants growing in leafmould & rock chunks, and as crevice plant. Shade: 75%, Aspect: 30-40 degree slope to northwest. Soil: ph variable from 2.8 to 5.7. Stream water at 3.3 Terra rossa with organic matter.
Growing with: Arisarum vulgare, Ranunculus creticus, Nerium oloeander, Plantanus orientalis, grasses, Urginea maritima, Ornithogalum umbellatum Rubus fruticosus, Orobanche sp., Sedum sp., Smilax aspera, Allium subhirsutum, etc.


West Coast of Crete, north of Sfinari.
Altitude: 90m. Gully on coast road, draining southeast and northwest. Cliff on southwest side. Plants growing in crevices and on flat in shade, along man-made ledge used for irrigation pipes. Shade: 90%.
Growing with: Hypericum sp., Geranium robertianum, grasses, Euphorbia helioscopa, Verbascum sp., Nerium oleander, Platanus orientalis, Arbutus unedo, Sedum sp., Arisarum vulgare, Smilax aspera, Urinea maratima.


Above Phalasarna, Gramvousa Peninsula.
Altitude: 100m. Near vertical, facing west. Single plant growing as chasmophyte, in gulley in dark hollow, in otherwise exposed area. Shade: 90%.
Growing with: Nerium oleander, Ceratonia siliqua, etc.


South of Rodopou Peninsula. Above Spilia, just north of church in cave (Agia Pantec).
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.
Growing with: Rhamnus lycoides ssp. graecus, Genista acanthoclada, Phlomis fruticosus, Asphodelus sp., grasses, Ornithogalum sp., etc.


South of the Rodopou Peninsula. On pathway to Agios Stefanos, south of Spilia.
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.
Growing with: 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


Face of escarpment behind Platanias.
Altitude: 30m. Aspect: North facing slope of 2:1 to vertical. C. graecum growing as chasmophite.
Growing with: Ballota pseudodictamnus, Phlomis fruticosus, grasses, Urginea maritima etc.
Site being extensively developed, few remaining areas for plants. Very inaccessible & majority of plants already dormant. Site has no long term future.


South of Platanias, just north of Karani on the road to Kares.
Altitude: 420m. Lush, mixed, deciduous woodland. Aspect: North facing slope of 0-1:1. Shade: 50%. Soil: ph 8.8-9.6. Abundant moisture from stream.
Growing with: Platanus orientalis, Ficus carica, Hedera helix, Rubus fruticosus, Arbutus unedo, Pteridium aquilinum, Euphorbia characias, Bryonia cretica, Geranium robertianum, grasses, Arum sp., Oxalis pres-caprae, Plantago major.


Road to Malaxa from Mournies, southeast of Chania, south of Souda.
Altitude: 120m. Aspect: Phrygana on variable slope of 0-90 degrees, in gully draining northwest. Shade: 50-90%, Soil: ph 8.5-10.
Growing with: Quercus coccifera, Phlomis fruticosa Osyris alba, Urginea maritima, Petromarala pinnata Asphodelus aestivus, Ranunculus asiaticus (white), Salvia triphylla, grasses, Dracunculus vulgaris, Euphorbia characias, Gagea graeca, Sarcopterum spinosum, Allium subhirsutum. C. graecum growing as chasmophyte


East side of Lefka Ori. Road from Petres to Goni, off Chania & Vrisses to Chora Sfakion road, at spine of island.
Altitude: 680m. Open, fairly exposed area of Quercus scrub, Aspect: slope of 1:5 to north-northeast. Shade: 20-70%. Soil: ph 9.4-9.6 Terra rossa with limestone, rich in organic matter.
Growing with: Quercus coccifera, Acer creticus, Phlomis fruticosa, Daphne sericea, grasses, Ruscus aculeatus, Sedum sp., Anenome heldreichii, Orchis quadripunctata, Orchis provincialis, Orchis tridentata, Serapias sp., Urginea maritima, Geranium robertianum


Beginning of final slope down onto north side of Omalos Plain from limestone ridge.
Altitude: 1140m, Aspect: Slope to northwest, open and exposed. Shade: <10% Soil: ph 8.0-8.5. Terra rossa over limestone.
Growing with: Acer cretica, Berberis cretica, Quercus coccifera, Geranium robertianum, Daphne sericea, Fritillaria messanensis, Phlomis fruticosa, grasses, Ranunculus sp., Veronica persica, Aphodeline lutea, Anenome heldreichii, Stachys cretica, Paeonia clusii, Asphodelus aestivus, Saxifraga chrysoplenifolia, Hedera helix Dracunculus vulgaris


Road from Laki to Omalos, on the northwest side of Xirokefalia.
Altitude: 1140m, Slope: 0-30 degrees to the west. Shade: 0-10% in open, 90% under Cupressus. Soil: ph 7.6-8.3. Growing under Cupressus abundantly, with scattered plants in more exposed conditions.
Growing with: Quercus coccifera, Arum idaeum, Asphodelus aestivus, grasses, Stellaria media, Euphorbia characias, Phlomis fruticosa, Ranunculus sp., Geranium robertianum, Gagea graeca, Asphodeline lutea, Berberis cretica, Daphne sericea, Acer cretica.


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.
Growing with: 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.


South of Rethimno. Road between Spili and Gerakari on spine of Mount Kedros.
Altitude: 870m. Aspect: North facing slope of 30 degrees. No shade. Very exposed. Plants growing at base of limestone outcrops in grass and roots of Iris unguicularis. Soil: ph 8.8-10.2. Heavy terra rossa with limestone rock.
Growing with: Spartium junceum, Sarcopterum spinosum, Phlomis fruticosus, Iris unguicularis, Inula hirta, grasses, 12 species of orchids, including Orchis, Ophrys, Aceras, Serapias and Anacampsis. Fritillaria messanensis, Calicotome villosa, Eryngium campetre, Campanula tabulosa, Muscari comosum, Asphodelus aestivus, Gagea graeca Trifolium uniflorum.


Southwest of Rethimno, on road between Agios Konstandinos and Argiroupoli.
Altitude: 130m. Lush broad leaf and evergreen trees with scattered olives, facing northeast. Shade: 9% Soil: ph 8.8-9.0
Growing with: Platinus orientalis, Hedera helix, Laurus nobilis, Myrtus communis, Rubus fruticosus, Galium sp., Smilax aspera, Tamus communis, Arum concinnatum, Arisarum vulgare, Pteridium aquilinum Petrmrala pinnata, Geranium robertianum, Ranunculus ficaria, grasses, Stellaria media, Selaginella, mosses, Ficus carica, Nasturtium officinale.


North of Vamos, on the northeast side of the Chania to Rethymnion road.
Altitude: 50m. Shade: 95% from mature trees, with some open areas. Soil: 8.0-8.8 Sandy.
Growing with: Quercus coccifera, Laurus nobilis, Hedera helix, Ruscus aculeata, Geranium robertianum, Clematis cirrhosa, grasses, Viccia sp Orobanche sp. Muscari comosum, Anacampsis pyramidalis.


West of Omalos, above and north-northwest of Aghia Irini.
Altitude: 780m. Aspect: 45 degree slope to northeast. Shade: 20%. Soil: Schist. Plants growing under Chestnut grove.
Growing with: 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.


Road between north of Agia Irini and Omalos. On east side of Mount Tourli, west side of Plain of Omalos. (As site 94/19 but north facing).
Altitude: 1200m. Aspect: 45 degree slope to north-northeast. Exposed site in valley, under Cupressus. Soil: ph 6.5-7.0
Growing with: Cupressus sempevirens, Quercus coccifera, Berberis cretica, Stachys cretica, grasses, Eryngium campestre, mosses, Crocus sp., Colchicum sp., Eric arborea


Road between north of Aghia Irini and Omalos, East of Mount Tourli, west side of Plain of Omalos. South facing.
Altitude: 1200m. Whole site under canopy of Cupressus sempervirens
Growing with: Phlomis fruticosa, grasses, Geranium robertianum, Quercus coccifera, Orchis papilionacea, Acer cretica etc.


Road from north of Aghia Irini to Omalos. East of Mount Tourli, west side of Plain of Omalos. South facing. (As site 94/19, but higher up).
Altitude: 1250m. Shade: 0-80% on south-southeast facing slope of 75 degrees.
Growing with: Acer cretica, Quercus coccifera, Phlomis fruticosa, Asphodeline lutea, grasses, Anthemis rigida, Ophrys lutea etc

Acknowledgements. We wish to thank Mr Hendrinos for his kind assistance, and also members of the Cyclamen Society who supplied information on locations and thereby saved much precious time.