Monday, August 23, 2010


Just as pleasurable as Wordsworth's daffodils, this beautiful cyclamen, a present from my sister, fills my heart with pleasure.  Delicate candy-pink petals against the blue winter sky evoke the spirit of spring which still seems quite far off, in spite of 1 September being the official start  of the season of freesias, daffodils and new lettuce-green oak leaves. 

When I asked a friend for advice on taking care of the cyclamen, she remarked that her child used to call the blossoms "upside-down flowers", a more appropriate description than "sowbread", an old name for the plant, so-called because the tubers were dug up and eaten by wild pigs. 

Another often-used and more pleasing name for cyclamen is Persian violet.  To me the petals look like the butterflies flitting around the newly-blossoming shrubs in my garden. 

"The flower symbolism associated with these flowers is resignation and goodbye.  This symbolism makes cyclamen especially appropriate for gifts for friends who are retiring or relocating"(  I'm not planning either activity at the moment but the thought of retiring to a small seaside village  is certainly enticing.

Another source  ( describes how the tubers of the cyclamen were ground up and baked into flat cakes with the reputation of being "a good amorous medicine", but warns that cyclamen are poisonous to cats and fish.  So keep your your feline fancier of flower petals away from your precious potplant!

Cyclamen is also described as a self-esteem and confidence builder - it certainly made me feel peaceful and contented after spending some time photographing the fragile blossoms.



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