"The Cyclamen are little boys
who cry at every turn
So don't forget a garden's joys
are something you must earn."
-Mary Ellen Smith
Growing at the foot of a Red-flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum 'King Edward VII') is a Cyclamen hederifolium ssp hederifolium which produces magenta flowers. A true red-flowering autumn cyclamen has never been developed, & what gets sold as 'Red' or 'Ruby' is in reality magenta. However, the "nose" of these flowers approach a true true pigeon-blood ruby color.
The ruby-nosed varieties are descended from a German strain called 'Rosentipich.' As a strain it is not well fixed, so that self-seeded specimens are apt to produce regular lighter pink flowers. Growing to the immediate left of our 'Ruby' is a cyclamen from the same seed stock started the same year, & it is a lighter pink.
The leaf-pattern is the regular green arrowhead darker for the silhouette than for the edging. Ours does not have a brightly defined arrowhead. The leaves are rounded heart-shapes neither as deckled nor as lobed as usually seen for the species. I've seen other magenta-flowering examples with well-marked leaves, but for the majority, it seems typical that
It flowers as early as August ahead of the appearance of the leaves, & more certainly from September to November, with the beautiful leaves lingering until March. Though the medicinal value of cyclamen is poorly documented, it has been used since time memorial as an herbal remedy for everything from liver disease & jaundice to depression to headaches or muscle pain. The tubors do contain saponins that as purified extracts might someday prove to have one or another creditable medical use in controlable dosages, including as a tumor inhibitor, though to date this hasn't been highly promising. The saponins have been proven to be effective, if not entirely safe, as spermicides, & have cardiovascular effects that might not become more healling than dangerous if controlable dosages were feasible.
The tubors are much more certainly toxic, & herbal hypochondriacs take considerable risks playing around with this one. It is nevertheless a favorite choice for homeopaths whose "medical" system contradicts the physics of the known universe & indeed is based on occultism & alchemy seriously at odds with science & medicine.
Cyclamen hederifolium f. albiflorum 'Album'
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