Nettleton Pink

Shell Pink 'Nettleton Silver'
Autumn Cyclamen

"He saw the Hamadryad.
She took him by the arm & led him on
Along a valley, where profusely grew
The smaller lilies with their pendent bells,
And, hiding under mint, chill drosera,
The violet shy of butting cyclamen."

-Walter Savage Landor


Cyclamen hederifolium ssp hederifolium var hederifolium 'Nettleton Silver' has pallid Shell Pink flowers just slightly larger than average. There is also a white-blooming form of 'Nettleton Silver' which is variant albiflorum. They are sometimes distinguished as 'Nettleton White' & 'Nettleton Pink.' Flowers usually last a long season, September to early November, more or less.

Nettleton PinkThis is a select form of the Silverleaf or Pewter Group autumn cyclamen. The general definition of Silverleaf is any cyclamen with each leaf being at least 70 percent pewtered, but of the fully pewtered forms, a "standard silver-leaf" almost always has a slim green stripe near the tip, whereas 'Nettleton Silver' lacks the stripe, being entirely pewtered over the whole surface of the leaf, though some leaves on close inspection show very faint webbing.

It so resembles 'Silver Cloud' that the names are becoming synonymous, while 'Nettleton White' is becoming synonymous with 'White Cloud.' Yet I believe these all began as separate select varieties, 'Nettleton Pink' having been developed at Potterton Nurseries in Nettleton, Linconshire, England, & 'Silver Cloud' by Phil Cornish of Gloucestershire. Perhaps these were always basically from the same selected offspring of the "Apollo Group" silverleaf forms that had lost their double-shields & tip-stripe, or perhaps they were independently derived but their indistinguishability has lent them to be placed in the same stock beds to hybridize.

Nettleton PinkThe first two photos show a clump of Nettleton Pink in our main autumn cyclamen garden under a large chokecherry tree. The third photo is of a slightly narrower-leafed specimen under a Korean azalea in the shade corridor.

Our Rose-Pink 'Silver Cloud' has much narrower more sharply pointed leaves than either of the two Nettleton Pinks, but leaf form & intensity of the silver is a highly variable feature. Our 'Silver Cloud' is also very strongly webbed silver on silver, so looks nothing like the Nettleton, but this is strictly because I intentionally picked out the freakiest 'Silver Cloud' from among others that were more evenly silvered. So generally speaking 'Silver Cloud' & 'Nettleton Silver' have tyhe same range of leaf shapes & pewtering with or without webbing at the margins, thoroughly overlapping in appearance. I know of no real way to distinguish them as separate cultivars except to trust the labeling of specialized growers or to know the source of the stocks.

Silverleaf forms are highly variable in shape, from slim sharply pointed cordate (heart-shaped) to classically ivy-leafed, the latter either toothily lobed or with seven distinct edges. It appears to me that most 'Nettleton' specimens are closer to cordate than to ivy-shaped, though I would expect differing shapes to develop even within a single seedlot. The first of these two Pink Nettleton Silvers has broadly heart-shaped leaves with at most a ripple of seration around the edges. The second specimen seen in the third photo has narrower leaves but is of the same seed-lot with the same rippled leaf-edge & shell-pink flowers.

Making allowances from the natural diversity within any given cyclamen group, the Nettletons largely grow true from seed, unless planted alongside patterned varieties with which they instantly cross-pollinate to throw off increasingly wide ranges of forms. Even planted among themselves, some seedlings are apt to develop with some degree of the green tip-stripe & these I would regard as throwbacks to regular 'Silverleaf' & not ideal for Nettletons.

Unless a gardener is attempting to preserve & multiply specific strains, it is visually appealing to plant various leaf forms in the same bed, for the patchwork of various leaves to be enjoyed autumn & winter. The greenest leaf forms alongside the most heavily pewtered is about as extreme a contrast as can be imagined in a single-species grouping.

The first flowers appear without the presence of leaves either late summer or early autumn. They are soon joined by bright leaves that will persist through winter & into early spring, bringing a silvery brightness to the shadowy places under shrubs or near the bases of trees where this species most likes to be.

Continue to
Cyclamen hederifolium, White-silver Patternleaf, Shell Pink


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