Cyclamen africanum -
similar to C.hederifolium. Said to be
distinguishable from C.hederifolium in that 1. it is not hardy, 2. tuber roots
in africanum sprout from all over the tuber, hederifolium roots come from top
and sides, 3. leaves are larger and brighter green and often thickened, 4.
leaves and flowers come straight up from the tuber, rather than elbowed so that
the stems go out and then up. However as C.hederifolium is very variable (and I
would say from what you see below, C.africanum is fairly variable too) and these
differences are comparative rather than absolute, the normal grower has a bit of
a puzzle on their hands. Added to which the view is that many "C.africanum" in
cultivation are in fact hybrids with C.hederifolium. To get the genuine plant I
have tried to source from expert growers or seed from plants collected in
Algeria or Tunisia.
From a gardeners point of
view, C.africanum is usually a bigger, stiffer plant flowering around the same
time as C.hederifolium (ie Sept-Oct in the northern hemisphere). In the UK it is
normal grown in greenhouses with heating to keep out frost. Having said that the
Tilebarn sourced plant survived a big freeze one year when my heating gave out,
while I lost many other "hardier" species. Because the stems generally come
straight up from the tuber, the plant remains attractive in the pot
(C.hederifolium will often give you a ring of flowers around the edge of the pot
with nothing in the middle). Tubers live many years and become very large and
flowering can be quite spectacular.
Please click on the
thumbnails for the full sized pictures.
Cyclamen africanum just coming out of dormancy with first flower. (15 year plus plant originally from Tilebarn)
Same plant towards the end of the flowering season
Typical flower, this one I think is from JCA855 collection from Algeria.
Cyclamen africanum from seed collected in Tunisia, this plant remains short and compact
Cyclamen africanum, a dark form bought in flower at Wisley Gardens.
This came from AGS seed labelled "Cyclamen africanum album".
A pot of Cyclamen africanum x hederifolium raised from seed.