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Cyclamen persicum

Previously known as:

  • Cyclamen latifolium
  • Cyclaminus persica
Phonetic Spelling
SY-kla-men PER-sih-kum
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Persian Cyclamen is a flowering herbaceous perennial that grows from a tuber. This species is very popular with florists, and it is frequently called the "Florist's Cyclamen." They have a mounded growth habit and measure 6 to 9 inches tall. Their leaves are heart-shaped, and the flowers are sweetly scented. The blooms come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, red, magenta, or lavender. They typically bloom from early winter to spring and are dormant during the summer. 

This species is native to Algeria to the East Mediterranean. Their summers are usually hot and dry, and the winters are cool and wet. Pine forests, oak thickets, and rocky slopes are their preferred growing sites. Persian Cyclamen was introduced to Western Europe in the 17th century and eventually gained popularity in the United States. Florist's Cyclamen is a cultivar of the wild Cyclamen persicum, and they are now sold all over the world.

Cyclamen comes from the Latin word "cyclamnos." It is also derived from the Greek word "kylos," which means circle or wheel. This refers to the shape of the plants' tubers. They are not from Persia, but the species name persicum means "from Persia."

The plants are only winter hardy in USDA Zones 9-11. The Florist's Cyclamen are frost tender. The plant prefers rich, well-drained soils and bright indirect sunlight. They are best grown indoors. Cool temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit and moderate humidity are recommended. Avoid watering the crown of the plant, which can result in the tubers rotting, and only water when the soil feels dry. It is best to water along the edge of the pot or at the base of the pot. Watering should be reduced when the plant becomes dormant.  As fall arrives, the plant will begin to grow again, and regular watering can then resume. Removing the spent flowers will encourage continued flowering.

Cyclamens are propagated by seeds and division. The seeds need to be fresh, and the germination period is 20-30 days. Sometimes germination can be erratic. Propagation by division can also be difficult because the tuber is prone to rot. 

The flower stalk rises directly from the tuber. The dark brown tuberous root is poisonous. The stalk grows up to 6 to 9 inches tall. The leaves are dark green, heart-shaped, and they have marbled silvered patterns. A solitary flower appears on each stalk. The 2-inch bloom has 4-5 petals and is fused at the base. They give the appearance of a delicate butterfly. The species flowers are scented, but some cultivated varieties are unscented. The fruit is a 5 chambered capsule and contains 5-40 seeds. When ripe, the capsule will split open.

The flowers are pollinated by bees. 

Persian Cyclamen or Florist's Cyclamen is a popular potted plant selection for Valentine's Day because of its heart-shaped leaves and blossoms of red, pink, white, and lavender. It is also popular at Christmas. When the plant goes dormant during the summer, the leaves will turn yellow and drop off. Most people discard the plant at this point. Re-blooming can sometimes be difficult in the home. Low levels of light may make the plants weak, which results in smaller blooms and lighter leaf colors. The plant should re-bloom during the winter with proper care, light, moisture, and cool temperatures.

Caution: Cyclamen plants contain a toxin known as saponins. Chewing or ingestion of any portion of this plant, especially the tubers or roots, by your pets can result in poisoning. The signs and symptoms include drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. Abnormal cardiac rhythms, seizures, and death can occur if a large amount is ingested.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Deep green heart-shaped leaves with silver marbling
  • Mounded growth habit
  • Sweet-scented flowers of red, pink, white, or purple
  • Tall slender stems
  • Blooms early winter to early spring

Diseases, Pests, and Other Problems:

There are no serious diseases or pest problems. Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips may attack the plant. Tuber rot occurs if the plant is overwatered.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • C. persicum var. autumale
    autumn flowering
  • C. persicum var. persicum
    winter and spring flowering
  • C. persicum var. persicum f. albidum
    pure white flowers
  • C. persicum var. persicum f. persicum
    white to pale pink flowers
  • C. persicum var. persicum f. puniceum
    red to carmine flowers
  • C. persicum var. persicum f. roseum
    rose pink flowers
C. persicum var. autumale, C. persicum var. persicum, C. persicum var. persicum f. albidum, C. persicum var. persicum f. persicum, C. persicum var. persicum f. puniceum, C. persicum var. persicum f. roseum
Tags:
#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#winter interest#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#container plants#summer dormant#heart shaped leaves#poisonous root
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • C. persicum var. autumale
    autumn flowering
  • C. persicum var. persicum
    winter and spring flowering
  • C. persicum var. persicum f. albidum
    pure white flowers
  • C. persicum var. persicum f. persicum
    white to pale pink flowers
  • C. persicum var. persicum f. puniceum
    red to carmine flowers
  • C. persicum var. persicum f. roseum
    rose pink flowers
C. persicum var. autumale, C. persicum var. persicum, C. persicum var. persicum f. albidum, C. persicum var. persicum f. persicum, C. persicum var. persicum f. puniceum, C. persicum var. persicum f. roseum
Tags:
#showy flowers#fragrant flowers#winter interest#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#container plants#summer dormant#heart shaped leaves#poisonous root
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cyclamen
    Species:
    persicum
    Family:
    Primulaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    This plant has been used to treat unspecified medical disorders.
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Algeria to East Mediterranean
    Distribution:
    Native: Algeria, Cyprus, East Agean Island, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Kriti, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey; Introduced: Italy
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees pollinate the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Colorful
    Fragrance
    Edibility:
    Cyclamen tubers are poisonous. They can cause severe diarrhea and possible death if eaten raw. The flower petals are sometimes used to make tea.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 9 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 9 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Mounding
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a capsule that measures about 0.5 inches in diameter and is divided into five chambers. The capsule contains 5-40 sticky, sugary seeds. When the seeds are ripening, the capsule will open. Ants are reportedly attracted to the seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are solitary and fragrant. They have 4-5 petaled blossoms fused at the base and measure 2 inches. They come in colors of red, pink, white, lavender, and magenta. They typically bloom for 3 months.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Variegated
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are dark green, heart-shaped, and measure 1 to 5.5 inches long. The leaves frequently have a variegated silvery pattern on the top side of the leaf and a pale or purplish-green color on the underside. The margins are serrated.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Children
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Ingestion of this plant by humans is typically rare because of its unpleasant taste. If ingested, vomiting and diarrhea may occur. Skin irritation may result from handling this plant. Chewing or ingestion of any part of this plant, especially the roots or tubers, can result in the poisoning of cats, dogs, and horses. Symptoms include drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. If large amounts of the plant are ingested, the pet may develop an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and death may occur.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Triterpenoid saponins
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Roots