The Cyclamens of Cyprus

The national plant of Cyprus is the Cyprus cyclamen. Endemic to the island, this perennial grows leaves that are green on top

Hero image

The national plant of Cyprus is the Cyprus cyclamen. Endemic to the island, this perennial grows leaves that are green on top (with light, white veins) and mauve underneath. The plants rise 7 to 15 centimetres high. From September to January, leafless stems emerge that are crowned by single flowers that bob in the wind. Cyprus cyclamens are prevalent throughout the island (except for the central plain). A good place to see them is near the Baths of Aphrodite—just a few minutes away from Anassa. From December to April, this area is awash with another kind of cyclamen—the Persian cyclamen. These plants thrive in the coastal cliffs, often finding an anchor in the crevices of rocks. Their leaves are shaped like hearts and have delicate white veining. Like their Cypriot cousin, they shoot forth leafless stems topped by a single bloom. The flower petals of the Persian cyclamen are typically white or pinkish-mauve and point upward toward the sky. Take a Spring stroll along the seaward side of the Aphrodite Trail and you will find them in abundance. Be certain to take a sniff to enjoy their light fragrance. Another kind, the Greek cyclamen, is also found in Cyprus, though it is infrequently found near Anassa. All cyclamens are propagated by tuber and seeds. The tubers are poisonous (the ancient Greeks are said to have poisoned their arrows with them). Cyclamens are protected species, so please don’t pick them; snap a photo and share their beauty with others.