Cyclamen, a genus of perennials, grows from tubers and is native to Europe and the Mediterranean region. The name Cyclamen comes from the Greek word “kuklos,” meaning circle. Cyclamen is also known as “sowbread,” as it is eaten by pigs.
Cyclamens are grown for their scented flowers, reminiscent of an up swept ballerina skirt. The five-petaled flowers come in shades of pink, white or purple. They flower all year round, depending on the species.
This delicate beauty was so popular in the past, that it now considered endangered. Due to excessive harvesting for horticultural purposes, it is rare to come across cyclamens in their native environments. As a result, conservation methods have been introduced to keep the cyclamen from being extinct. Instead of digging up these plants illegally, it is recommended that people buy their cyclamens from established nurseries, where they are propagated without harm done to the wild plants.
Cyclamen are popular houseplants during the Christmas season. They are also cultivated in gardens, doing especially well in rock gardens. They perform best in rich soils with high humus content that drains freely. In addition, cyclamens are hardy and can withstand cold climates. They are low maintenance and pest resistant.
Fun facts about Cyclamens
- cyclamens were fed to pigs to enhance the flavour of the pork
- has a history of traditional medicine use, including healing wounds and boils
- During the Renaissance, the ear-shaped leaves were thought to heal earaches
- in the late 16th century, cyclamen was used to induce childbirth
- they are toxic to dogs and cats
- cyclamen symbolize departure; they would be perfect for someone who is retiring or relocating