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Cyclamen Cyprium: The flower that represented Cyprus on Meghan’s wedding dress

By May 23, 2018 No Comments

Meghan Markle has surprised everyone by wearing a wedding dress designed by Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller.
Meghan was eager to incorporate a nod to all 53 countries of the Commonwealth into her special day, and asked for a veil embellished with the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country united in a single spectacular floral composition.

Among the 53 countries was also Cyprus with the beautiful Cyclamen Cyprium. But how much do you know about this endemic species that grows in our country?

Nomenclature: The genus name Cyclamen is cognate
with the Greek Cyclos, “a circle”, and refers either to the
round tuber or the rounded leaves, or possibly the
circular twisting of the fruiting pedungle. The species
has been named cyprium, because its description was
based on specimens collected from Cyprus, where the
plant is endemic.

Description: Cyprus cyclamen is a perennial, tuberous
herb 7-15 cm high. It has simple, heart-shaped, rather
fleshy leaves, which have long petioles and coarsely
dentate margins. The lower surface of lamina has a
characteristic rich purple or crimson-purple colour. The
flowers are solitary, nodding, on long pedicels; the
corolla is deeply 5-lobed, white or pale pink, with a
conspicuous M-shaped magenta blotch towards the base
of each lobe. The sweetly fragrant flowers appear in
autumn, usually a little in advance of the leaves. Soon
after anthesis, the pedicels start coiling from apex
downwards and a globose capsule appears on each
pedicel.

Habitat – Biology: It grows on shaded calcareous or igneous rocks, steep hillsides and streambanks, usually
under trees and shrubs, from 50 to 1200 m above sea level. It flowers from September to January, and exceptionally flowering can be prolonged to March. Cyprus cyclamen in flower

Distribution: Cyprus cyclamen is the only endemic of the three species of the genus Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum, C. graecum), which are indigenous in Cyprus. It occurs in the greater part of the island (except the central plain), from the Akamas peninsula and the Troodos range to the Pentadaktylos range, and it is locally abundant.
Protection status: All species Cyclamen are listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Moreover, the largest populations of Cyclamen cyprium are found in state forest land and are thus well protected.

 

Courtesy of the Department of Forest

Praxia Aresti