Cyclamen hederaefolium

Botanical Name: Cyclamen hederaefolium
Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Cyclamen
Subgenus: Cyclamen
Series: Cyclamen
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonym: Sowbread.

Common Names: Ivy-leaved cyclamen

Habitat : Cyclamen hederaefolium is native to woodland, shrubland, and rocky areas in the Mediterranean region from southern France to western Turkey and on Mediterranean islands, and naturalized farther north in Europe and in the Pacific Northwest.
Description:
Cyclamen hederifolium is a tuberous perennial herb that blooms and sprouts leaves in autumn, grows through the winter, and goes dormant before summer, when the seed pods ripen and open……...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Tuber:
Dried tubers at market in Remscheid, Germany
The tuber is round-flattened and produces roots from the top and sides, leaving the base bare. In the florist’s cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum), roots come from the bottom, leaving the top and sides bare.

The tuber becomes larger with age; older specimens commonly become more than 25 cm (10 in) across. In other species, tubers do not grow as large; Cyclamen coum usually does not reach more than 6.5 cm (2.6 in) across.  Leaves and flowers grow from buds on top.

Leaves:
The leaves are variably shaped and colored. Depending on the specimen, leaf shape varies from heart-shaped to long and arrow-shaped, usually with 2-3 angled lobes on each side, resembling the juvenile leaves of ivy (Hedera). Leaf color varies from all-green to all-silver, but the most common is a Christmas tree or hastate pattern in silver or pewter and various shades of green.

click & see the pictures

The leaf and flower stalks of Cyclamen hederifolium grow outwards and then up, forming an “elbow”. Plants in narrow pots often have a ring of leaves around the outside of the pot. In the closely related Cyclamen africanum, stalks grow up from the tuber without a bend near the base.

Flowers:
The flowers bloom from late summer to autumn and have 5 petals, usually pink, purple, or white with a streaky magenta V-shaped marking on the nose, but sometimes pure white with no markings.

The edges of the petals near the nose of the flower are curved outwards into strong auricles. These are not present in some other species, such as Cyclamen persicum. The flowers are occasionally fragrant. The shape of the flower varies from long and thin to short and squat.

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Fruit:
After fertilization, the flower stem coils tightly, starting at the end, and rests above the tuber. Seeds are amber, held in a round pod, which opens by 5-10 flaps at maturity.

Cultivation:
Cyclamen hederifolium is usually listed as the hardiest species of cyclamen. In oceanic climates, it self-seeds abundantly and will crowd out less vigorous species such as Cyclamen coum if the two are planted together. In cold continental climates such as Calgary, Alberta, where Cyclamen purpurascens grows well, it may not survive. DavesGarden.com lists it as hardy to zone 5a (?20 °F or ?29 °C), although hardiness is dependent on presence of snow cover.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Part Used Medicine : The tuberous rootstock, used fresh, when the plant is in flower.

Constituents: Besides starch, gum and pectin, the tuber yields chemically cyclamin or arthanatin, having an action like saponin.

Medicinal Uses:
A homoeopathic tincture is made from the fresh root, which applied externally as a liniment over the bowels causes purging.

Old writers tell us that Sowbread baked and made into little flat cakes has the reputation of being ‘a good amorous medicine,’ causing the partaker to fall violently in love.

The fresh tubers bruised and formed into a cataplasm make a stimulating application to indolent ulcers.

An ointment called ‘ointment of arthainta’ was made from the fresh tubers for expelling worms, and was rubbed on the umbilicus of children and on the abdomen of adults to cause emesis and upon the region over the bladder to increase urinary discharge.

Other Uses: Although the roots are favourite food of swine, their juice is stated to be poisonous to fish.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclamen_hederifolium
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cycya133.html

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