A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Cylamens

January 28, 2015

This is Cyclamen persicum that flowers all over the Pedi Valley.

The common name "persian sowbread" derives from the tuberous roots of the flower being a favourite food of the the wil boar. The name Cyclamen is derived from the Greek "kyklamenos" meaning "circular or circle form", either from the spiralling flower stalk or from the round shape of the tuber.  Cyclamen have been a popular cultivated plant since Plato in the fourth century BC.  In its native habitat the Cyclamen is an endangered plant, with Turkey and Greece seeming to have the largest remaining populations and diversity.  Centuries of collecting from the wild have decimated populations and the Cyclamen is now protected by CITES, it being illegal to import or export Cyclamen to or from any co-operating country without a CITES permit. It has been used as a homeopathic liniment and purgative, and it also had a reputation of being "a good amorous medicine".  Although eaten by pigs they are poisonous to man & fish, causing intestinal inflammation, sweats, tinnitus, fits and can be fatal.

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