Flowers appear in spring, in the wild from April to June as the snow melts, dependent on altitude, in shades of pink but with a distinct blue tinge, often (faintly) scented. The corolla lobes are reflexed in ssp parviflorum, held horizontally in ssp subalpinum, 5-15mm long, with slightly pointed tips, 90 degrees twist and a purple zone at the base, extending into the corolla mouth.
Leaves present all year as there is no real dormant period but new leaves appear in autumn, fully developed by flowering time, round (sometimes heart shaped in ssp subalpinum), with smooth margins, plain green with very occasional faint patterning, underside purplish, 15-35mm long, 15-35mm wide.
Tuber a compressed sphere, small when fully grown, up to 2cm diameter, brown, smooth, with fine velvety hairs, branching thin (1mm) diameter roots arise from the centre of the underside.
Cyclamen parviflorum grows in the Pontus Mountains, bordering the Black Sea in northeast Turkey.
Cyclamen parviflorum grows in an area of plentiful snow, rainfall and mists from the humid air off the Black Sea, from 750-2400m, at lower elevations, ssp subalpinum, it is a plant of open woodland, coniferous, deciduous or mixed, as long as there is humus rich soil and at higher elevations, ssp parviflorum, it is a true alpine, found in the open in short turf.
C. parviflorum subsp. subalpinum with twisted corolla
lobes, reﬂexed and radiating from the mouth of tube.
C. parviflorum subsp. parviﬂorum with tightly reflexed corolla lobes showing little or no twist.
Cyclamen parviﬂorum subsp. parviﬂorum and subsp. subalpinum
There are two seldom used subspeciﬁc epithets namely subsp. parviﬂorum and subsp. subalpinum, the key distinguishing feature being flower shape. Subsp. parviﬂorum has tightly reflexed corolla lobes with little or no twist with the sides of the lobe curled outwards to create a furrow; whereas subsp. subalpinum has more open twisted corolla lobes reﬂexed but more spreading, or radiating from the mouth of tube.
The leaves are orbicular to sometimes reniform and vary with altitude, being quite small in alpine locations but somewhat larger in forest situations.
In 2002, Christopher Grey-Wilson raised his previously described variant with more-open flowers (var. subalpinum) to subspecies level as C. parviﬂorum subsp. subalpinum, commenting that these ’…characteristics may be related in habitat differences’.
Whilst it is true that plants in an alpine habitat are more likely to have tightly reﬂexed petals, (although this is not entirely the case). It is also true that at altitude the leaves tend to be smaller than in the lower woodland populations, but the division is also problematic because there are populations that contain plants of both flower forms, at both higher and lower altitudes. Suggesting that these differences are not environmental; but that this is simply a variable species.