Cyclamen confusum

Description

Cyclamen confusum is very similar to the more familiar C. hederifolium and they are found together in the wild in the area of Crete where C. confusum occurs. They are closely related but genetically different, and the two species cannot hybridise due to differing cytology.

Flowers appear in autumn, in the wild in October and November sometimes later, dependent on the start of the autumn rains, in shades of rose pink, very fragrant with a sweet scent. The corolla lobes are reflexed, 20-45mm long, 7-12mm wide, with pointed or rounded tips, 90-180 degrees twist, very prominent auricles at the base with darker lines merging into a V shaped zone at the nose of the flower.

Leaves appear late during or after flowering, broadly heart shaped, often with angular lobes, large, fleshy with thick stalks, shiny, bright green with an ill defined pattern, underside green but can be purplish, 7-10cm long, 7-10cm wide.

Tuber

Tuber a compressed sphere, large when fully grown, up to 25cm in diameter, becoming rough and flaky with maturity, thick (2mm) diameter roots arise mainly from the sides, leaving the underside mostly bare.

Distribution

Cyclamen confusum grows in the Kissamos district of northwest Crete particularly around Topolia and Polirinia. There are populations of similar looking plants on the Datca peninsula in southwest Turkey but these require further investigation to establish whether or not they are C. confusum.

Habitat

Cyclamen confusum grows in shade, in mixed coniferous and deciduous woodland, sometimes in olive groves, also on the sides of wooded gorges, which it shares with (mostly) discrete populations of C. hederifolium.

Cultivation

Cyclamen confusum is a hardy plant and suitable for the garden in northwest Europe but, because of its current scarcity in the nursery trade, not much grown outside as yet. It is most often cultivated as a pot plant in a cold greenhouse. No cultivars have been named, as little selection has been carried out so far. It is likely to be confused with C. hederifolium, which it resembles closely and to which it is related, but it generally looks more robust than C. hederifolium, with thicker, shiny leaves. It flowers a little later and has a wider corolla mouth with even more pronounced auricles than C. hederifolium.