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Eastern Sowbread

Cyclamen coum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Primulaceae (Primrose)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, mountains, rocky places, scrub, woodland.

Pink, 5 petals
The flowers are a deep pink, measuring about 2cm across. Each of the petals have a dark purple blotch at their base, unlike those of the similar looking Sowbread (Cyclamen hederifolium).
The fruit is a pod.
The leaves are kidney-shaped and frequently marbled with silver on the upper surface. Perennial.
Other Names:
Coum Cyclamen, Round-leaved cyclamen, Snowdrop Cyclamen.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Cyclamen coum, commonly known as the "snowdrop cyclamen" or "coum cyclamen," is a perennial herb that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of soil types and can tolerate shade. It is a small plant that typically grows to around 4 inches in height, the plant has small flowers that are typically pink or white, and heart-shaped leaves. It is mostly grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is often used as a ground cover. It's also used as a houseplant. The plant also has some medicinal properties, it's been traditionally used to treat respiratory problems and to ease menstrual cramps. However, the plant contains cyclamen alkaloids which can be toxic if ingested in large quantities, so it should not be consumed as a food or used in large doses as a medicine.


Eastern Sowbread, also known as Cyclamen coum, is a hardy and beautiful perennial plant that is native to the eastern Mediterranean region. It is a member of the Primulaceae family and is prized for its stunning foliage and vibrant flowers.


Eastern Sowbread is a low-growing plant, typically reaching a height of only 10-15cm. It has a roundish, heart-shaped, or kidney-shaped leaves that are green with intricate silver markings. The leaves usually appear in late autumn, and their unique markings are one of the plant's most attractive features.

In early spring, the plant produces delicate, fragrant flowers that range in color from white to pink to deep red. The flowers are nodding, with petals reflexed backwards, and are held on long, slender stems that rise above the foliage. The petals are swept back, giving them a windswept look. The plant's unique flower shape is one of its most distinctive features.

Growing Conditions

Eastern Sowbread is a hardy plant that is well-suited to the cooler climates of its native region. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and dappled shade, making it an excellent choice for planting under trees or in woodland gardens. It is also tolerant of alkaline soils, making it a popular choice for gardeners in areas with naturally high pH.

The plant typically goes dormant during the summer months, with the foliage dying back and disappearing. It then reemerges in the autumn when the weather cools down, producing new leaves and flowering in the early spring.


Eastern Sowbread is propagated by seed or division. The plant produces small, rounded seeds that can be sown in the autumn or spring. To improve germination rates, the seeds can be soaked in water for 24 hours before planting.

Division is the most common method of propagation for Cyclamen coum. The plant produces small corms that can be lifted and divided in late spring or early summer. Each division should have at least one healthy corm and a few leaves attached.


Eastern Sowbread is primarily grown as a garden ornamental, prized for its unique foliage and vibrant flowers. It is commonly used in woodland gardens, under trees, or in rock gardens.

The plant is also used in traditional medicine, particularly in its native region. Its tuberous roots have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive disorders, respiratory problems, and skin conditions.

Eastern Sowbread is a stunning and hardy plant that is well-suited to the cooler climates of its native region. With its unique foliage and delicate, fragrant flowers, it is a popular choice for gardeners looking to add some interest and color to their gardens.

More Information

Eastern Sowbread, also known as Cyclamen coum, is a plant that has been highly valued by gardeners for centuries. It is believed to have been cultivated in gardens since ancient times and has been a popular garden ornamental in Europe since the 16th century.

Aside from its ornamental and medicinal uses, Cyclamen coum has also played a role in art and literature. The plant has been depicted in paintings by artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet, and has been referenced in poems by writers such as William Wordsworth.

One interesting fact about Cyclamen coum is that its flowers are pollinated by insects such as bees, butterflies, and moths. The plant is also known to be toxic to animals, including cats and dogs, so it should be kept out of reach of pets.

Another interesting fact about Eastern Sowbread is that it has a long history of use in traditional medicine. The plant has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including arthritis, asthma, and headaches. Its tuberous roots have been used to make a tea or tincture, which is believed to have anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and diuretic properties.

Eastern Sowbread is a plant that has captured the imagination of gardeners, artists, and writers for centuries. With its unique foliage, delicate flowers, and medicinal properties, it is a plant that is both beautiful and useful. If you are a gardener looking to add some interest and color to your garden, or if you are interested in natural remedies, Cyclamen coum is a plant that is well worth considering.

Eastern Sowbread has several varieties, with differences in flower and leaf color, as well as the size and shape of its tubers. The varieties include Cyclamen coum 'Album', which has white flowers; Cyclamen coum 'Pewter Group', which has leaves with silver markings; and Cyclamen coum 'Roseum', which has pink flowers.

The plant is also associated with several myths and legends. In Greek mythology, it was believed that the plant grew in the spots where the blood of Adonis, the god of beauty and desire, fell to the ground. In medieval Europe, the plant was believed to have magical properties, and was used in spells and potions to bring luck and ward off evil spirits.

Despite its popularity, Eastern Sowbread can be challenging to grow in some climates. In warmer regions, the plant may not go dormant during the summer months, which can lead to problems with root rot and other diseases. To prevent this, gardeners in warmer climates may need to plant the bulbs in raised beds or pots to ensure good drainage.

Eastern Sowbread is also prone to damage from slugs and snails, which can eat the leaves and flowers. To prevent damage, gardeners may need to use organic slug and snail control methods or hand-pick the pests.

In conclusion, Eastern Sowbread, or Cyclamen coum, is a fascinating plant with a long history of use in gardens, medicine, and folklore. With its unique foliage, vibrant flowers, and medicinal properties, it is a plant that has captured the imagination of people around the world for centuries. If you are a gardener looking for a unique and beautiful plant to add to your garden, or if you are interested in natural remedies, Eastern Sowbread is a plant that is well worth exploring.