Cyclamen beside Steppingstone

Double-shield Saggitate
Shell Pink Autumn Cyclamen

"Yesterday was a dismal, absolutely dismal day, except for the fact that a bunch of flowers & a beautiful pink cyclamen came for me."

-May Sarton


The first photo shows an example of the shell-pink & double-shield variety of Cyclamen hederifolium ssp hederifolium. It is "Shell Pink" following the standard shades which from palest to darkest: White, Shell Pink, Rose Pink, & Magenta.

Cyclamen leafIt is "Double-shield" because it has a silver or pewter heart at the very center, surrounded by a silhouettte of a fir-tree or arrow in green silhouette, surrounded by the silver-webbing extending to the edge of the deckled leaf. This can be compared to the standard Patternleaf which at first glance may seem pretty much the same leaf type, but with a clear green tree-silhouette without the heart-shaped central shield.

Thisspecimen is under chokecherry tree. It spent a few years growing right off the edge of a large garden-access stepping stone, but large Japanese anemones spreading their rhizomes began to hide the cyclamens surrounding that stepping-stone, so in autumn 2005 I moved this one closer to the ledge under the same tree. It barely noticed its disruption.

Cyclamen left of ChokecherryThis one's pale shell-pink blooms have such dark V-shaped markings on the bottom of each petal as to nearly be ruby-nosed. This one as I recall was one of the wild-gathered tubers we obtained years ago when we started off as novice cyclamen collectors & did not yet know it is deplorable to buy the large tubers stolen from the wild, when nursery-grown seedlings have more varieties & develop rapidly without placing stresses on wild populations (see the article on Cyclamen Tubers for more on the conservation issues).

Cyclamen left of ChokecherryThe photo of this wild specimen is from October's end (2004). This one seems to begin flowering a couple weeks later than average but continues blooming into November. The leaves are particularly showy, though not quite as showy as are double-shield pink specimens from "The Apollo Group." Apollos have a broad tip to the fir-tree pattern that extends like a stripe right to the edge of the leaf, whereas this one has a spearpoint to the central pattern that only barely reaches the leaf-edge without giving the impression of a stripe.

To make these distinctions between various pattern types & sub-types is perhaps slightly anal. But the endless variety of patterning on C. hederifolium makes each plant as individualistic as fingerprints or snowflakes. Devottees of these subtle plants inevitably gain an extravagant fondness for even slight differences within the various pattern groups, while larger differences are to swoon for.

Double-shield & single-shield sagittate & deckled are the most common leaf types for C. hederifolium. The second photo shows a different double-shield specimen in November (2003) growing under a Corkscrew Hazel. This shot nicely shows the heart-shaped shield inside the spearhead silhouette. This ones silver edging almost presents a another zone of green around the very edges, with rays of silver light extending only to the points of each outer point of deckling.

The third photo shows yet another double-shield shell pink, but before its leaves are up, with only its flowers showing. This was the first week in October (2003; in 2004 it bloomed by mid-August). Its leaves arrive later than any other clump in that same area, including still another double-shield pink immediately behind this one, likewise up close to the trunk of chokecherry. Even growing in the same spot, their behavior from one to the next can be slightly varied. The same specimen is shown in the fourth photo in late November in full leaf & flower.

Continue to
Cyclamen hederifolium ssp hederifolium,
Double-shield White


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