Flowers appear in spring, in the wild from March to May, white, occasionally pale pink, with sweet lily of the valley scent. The corolla lobes are reflexed, 15-25mm long, 4-7mm wide, with pointed tips, generally 90 degrees twist and no auricles at the base.
Leaves appear late autumn/winter, fully grown by flowering time, heart shaped to triangular, from slightly scalloped to strongly toothed margins, green to grey-green ground, usually with a grey or silver zone but often also with irregular flecks of grey or silver, underside purplish, 4-12cm long, 3.5-12cm wide.
Tuber a compressed sphere, small at maturity, up to 4cm diameter, brown, smooth, branching very thin (0.5mm) diameter roots arise from the centre of the underside.
Cyclamen creticum grows in a typically Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and warm wet winters, from sea level to about 1300m. It grows in shady places, in gullies, on the sides of streams or north facing banks, in light woodland, among scrub or in more open areas, where these have been cleared.
Cyclamen creticum will withstand overnight frost, which may damage the leaves, but not prolonged freezing and tends to be cultivated as a pot plant in a cool greenhouse in northwest Europe. Leaves with brighter patterning have been selected and ‘Silvery Hope’, with all over bright silver leaves, has been named. C. creticum is closely related to C. balearicum, C. repandum, and C. rhodium. In cultivation C. creticum has hybridised with C. repandum (C. x meiklei).