Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cyclamen balearicum

Written by Mrs Jo Hynes
Cyclamen balearicum Cyclamen balearicum

 

Cyclamen balearicum is one of the less well known and seldom grown species in the subgenus psilanthum, or repandum group, of the genus Cyclamen.

A diminutive plant, Cyclamen balearicum is best grown in a pot in the UK as it does not fare well with the vagaries of British weather. However it is also a very beautiful species with marbled silver grey leaves, white flowers and a very sweet scent and certainly deserves to be more widely grown.

Here in north Devon, at 500ft above sea level I grow it outside under a loose holly bush where it survives, hardly ever flowers and gets damaged by frost and slugs. I also grow it in pots in a shady greenhouse where it is protected and can be properly appreciated.

C. balearicum is native to the Balearic Islands and was originally thought to be endemic there but now is also known to be native to the south west region of France.

Last spring I had the chance to photograph the Cevennes population in France in late March. Here C. balearicum can be found in the limestone gorges of the Gardon river, amongst the abandoned terraces and ruined houses of rural culture from the nineteenth century. Unfortunately I was a few weeks too early to catch the flowers but there was a host of leaf forms to keep me happy and gives me an excuse to go to the Balearic Islands next to catch it in flower !

Jo Hynes holds a National Collection of Hardy Cyclamens at her garden in Cherubeer, mid-Devon.

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