Curly Cyclamen

Pink Autumn Cyclamen

"Demeter welcomed me with tears of joy, the leaves sang happily, a butterfly danced, skipping lightly above the delicate cyclamens that grow amid the old ruins."

-Heather Blakey,


I call this "curly-leaf" because that's what an ivy with this leaf form would be called; I'm not aware of an official designation for cyclamens with wavy edges, but curly-leaf struck me as the obvious designation.

Granny Artemis & I obtained this Curly-leaf Cyclamen from a grower who participated in the autumn fundraising sale for the Rhododendron Species Foundation. I spoke during the sale to the kindly gent, of the couple who were proprietors of the small firm of Overland Enterprises. I asked, "Why is this the only one of your cyclamens with curly leaves?" He told me, "I don't know. I grew all these from seeds, & that's the only one that came out that way."

I bought it inexpensively, with several other small things, with a feeling of great glee. But I was at first a bit afraid to put it amidst other cyclamens, for fear the curliness was caused by a virus or by cyclamen mites. I sent pictures of the leaves to some cyclamen enthusiasts, who assured me it looked like a healthy plant, not caused by mites or other damage. It was assessed as within the range of normal leaves though uncommon, & it was suggested that this type of occasional sport would not ordinarily grow true from seeds.

Meanwhile, snails had eaten the lettering off a plant tag for some obscure little thing I'd gotten from the same grower on the same day. I had not gotten its name jotted down in my garden diary, & there was simply no lettering left on the tag.

So I called up Overland Enterprises in Seattle to speak with the co-proprietor again, getting the name of the plant with the ruined tag. Ending up in a lengthy conversation, I reminded him that I bought that curly-leafed cyclamen from him. "Oh yes!" he exclaimed remembering it well. "After talking to you about it, I came home & looked through all the cyclamens, & about two percent of the plants have leaves like that. They appear to be self-seeded from a very old clump I planted about ten years ago. I never gave it much thought because always felt its leaves were uglier than a normal cyclamen." "Well, I think it's an exciting variation, & I'm sure other cyclamen enthusiasts would think so too, so you should make an effort to collect those seeds & establish a reliable strain worthy of its own cultivar name. I'll be saving seeds from mine, but if you have a decade-old specimen that is already self-seeding & growing true to the parent, then you serioiusly have something to work with it."

I certainly hope he takes the time to preserve it as a strain that surprisingly enough does reproduce itself from seeds.

Pink flowers occur before the leaves, on comparatively short unpright stems. Besides the curliness, the leaves are patterned on top, green underneath, more compact than average, on short thicker-than-average pinkish-purple stems. It flowers as early as September. The leaves emerge by October already wavy-edged when small, & grow larger with their waviness intact.

Continue to
Cyclamen persicum,
Wild Persian Violet


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