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It must be autumn – even if I chose to ignore the cooler evenings, the nights drawing in and the falling leaves, I can’t ignore the gorgeous cyclamen flowering in my local park!

160905 Wild Cyclamen (1)

The Wild cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) is not native to Britain – it hails from the Mediterranean countries, though has, over time, made its way into more northern European countries, including Britain, where garden escapees have gradually become naturalised in many of the southern counties and here in Wales.

The word cyclamen comes originally from the Greek for circle, cyclamīnos, which is a nod to its round-shaped tuber, and the species name, hederifolium, is a combination of the Latin hedera (meaning ivy) and folium (meaning leaf), which refers to the shape and patterns on cyclamen leaves. More interesting though is its common name, sowbread, which apparently came about because pigs like to eat cyclamen, a fact reflected not only in the English common name but in several other languages as well: pain de pourceau in French, pan porcino in Italian, varkensbrood in Dutch, and ‘pigs’ manjū’ in Japanese.

160905 Wild Cyclamen (2)160905 Wild Cyclamen (3)

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