Cyclamen maritimum


Flowers appear in autumn, in the wild from September to November, sometimes later, dependent on the start of the autumn rains, in shades of pink, unscented or only faintly scented. The corolla lobes are reflexed, 15-25mm long, with pointed tips and generally 90 degrees twist. Darker lines on each one merge into a deeper coloured area at the nose of the flower, which has auricles (less prominent than in C. graecum, of which this was once considered a subspecies – anatolicum). Unusually among cyclamen, after fertilisation the flower stalk begins to coil from the middle rather than the top as in most species.

Leaves appear late during flowering or after, dependent on the amount of rain, arising straight from the tuber, broadly oval, with a thickened slightly toothed (beaded) edge and shallowly scalloped (lobed), often with a satin sheen, extremely variably patterned in shades of green, grey or silver on a green, sometimes very dark, ground, underside purple, sometimes greenish, 5-15cm long, 3-13cm wide.


Tuber spherical, large at maturity, up to 20cm diameter, becoming very rough and flaky with age, sometimes with floral trunks, thick (3-5mm) diameter roots arise from the centre of the base.


Cyclamen maritimum grows on the island of Rhodes, on the mainland, from north of Rhodes, east right across southern Turkey to Silifke, in Cilicia, and in a limited area of northwest Cyprus. (See also C. graecum)


Cyclamen maritimum grows in a typically Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and warm wet winters, from sea level to 1000m, mainly in open situations, in terra rossa over limestone, in water worn pockets or crevices in bare rock but also under scrub or in old olive groves and even in deep shade.


Cyclamen maritimum is a tender plant, so not one for the garden outside in northwest Europe, where it is best cultivated as a pot plant in a frost-free greenhouse. The extremely variably patterned foliage is a particular attraction. The thick roots appear adapted to seeking and storing water, so it is often grown in a deep ‘long tom’ pot and watered from the base. Some water during flower bud formation seems to encourage profuse flowering.