Foliage Friday: Cyclamen

I passed by a house in our neighborhood this week and saw a bunch of pink flowers. Several of them had been freshly planted by landscapers. They looked very spring-y, and seemed a little out of place amongst all the fall leaves.

These flowers are familiar, but I couldn’t remember their name….

They’re cyclamen! (Thank you Google.)

Cyclamen are perennial flowers that tend to lay dormant in summer and then bloom sometime between fall and late winter or early spring (although some varieties bloom in the summer). So, they’re not completely out of place to be blooming in late November, and, in fact, some people use them as Christmas decor. Although I don’t think pink flowers fit with a Christmas scene, I do like the variegated leaves, and a white-blooming version could be pretty for Christmas.

Image from: Farmer’s Almanac

Cyclamen grow from round or pancake-like tubers. This is actually how they get their name (cyclamen comes from the word for cycle or wheel). A single planted in the right spot can live for hundreds of years.

Image from:

(But just in case you were thinking, “Doesn’t that tuber look tasty?” be aware that the Cyclamen tubers are poisonous if eaten raw.)

The right place to plant cyclamen tubers is in a temperate climate. Cyclamen are native to the Mediterranean (Greece, Italy, Turkey, Israel, etc), and thus like hot dry summers and mild, wet winters. They are, in fact, Israel’s national flower. Cyclamen is רקפת in Hebrew, which, I believe, is pronounced “rakefet”… I went down the rabbit trail and found a Hebrew song about cyclamen.

(Here’s a version with English subtitles.)

There are even cyclamen dances to this song…. enjoy.