Winter Cyclamen

Winter Cyclamen

"Send me your flowers, of your December
Send me your dreams, of your candy wine."

-Mazzy Star,


Formerly the main color gradations for Cyclamen coum were white, shell (pale pink), rose (mid-pink), & magenta (dark pink). Although a true red C. coum has never yet been bred, there are today selectively bred color-intensities that go well beyond magenta, demanding a fifth color category.

Winter CyclamenThese relatively recent & nearly-red cultivated forms are broadly labeled 'Crimson' or 'Red' or 'Crimson Rose,' despite that it's an exaggeration to call them by names that imply true red. The darker nose of these intensely colored blooms are burgundy or purple-brown.

Much of the pioneer work for these more deeply colored plants was done by England's Basil Smith. His select strains have in the past decade found their way into the hands of numerous growers so that the once-rarest crimson-flowering winter cyclamens turn up regularly amidst ordinary stocks.

There are some registered crimson cultivars of Cyclamen coum ssp coum f. coumincluding 'Rubrum' with pewter leaves & similar to or inclusive of "Silver Group Red"; 'Linnet Jewell' which is crimson with faded centers; & the primary pattern-leaf varieties 'Crimson King' & 'Meaden's Crimson' (named for Scottish plant breeder Robert C. Meaden). The last two most resemble the Crimson clumps shown above. Ours is probably a culled seedling from 'Crimson King.'

They generally bloom December through January, but the two photos on this page are from mid & late October respectively, showing the very first bloom on each specimen for that year (2005). It is probably only coincidental that two Crimson-flowering clumps bloomed a bit ahead of schedule.

The leaves usually begin a bit before the blooms, then outlast the blooms to the end of March or early April. They're very round to oval, purply-red on the underside, silver-patterned on top with an encircling zone of green around the smooth edge, & an interior spearhead silhouette, though this latter trait varies a great deal from specimen to specimen. The first photo shows a leaf form with the slender spearhead silhouette very overt. The second photo shows a nearby specimen where the spearhead is obscured or faintly outlined by far fewer markings.

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About Cyclamen Tubers


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