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.

Close up of Cyclamen africanum x hederifolium

Leaf from the ex Tilebarn plant

Leaf from plant ex JCA855

Leaf from compact form collected in Tunisia

Leaf on dark form

Leaf from another form

Cyclamen africanum setting seed.