Garden Companion and Florists’ Guide 89-90 (Jan-Oct 1852)
James Atkins, Painswick Gloucestershire

IF there be a group of plants, of limited extent, and possessing every quality which should, and indeed, does, render them favourite objects of cultivation, and which therefore ought to be well known, and easily recognized, but which more than any other, have their nomenclature involved in difficulty and confusion, it is that of the Cyclamens. So it ever has been, and so it remains: for the most recent resume of the species is not less free from the prevailing mysticism than the descriptions which have preceded it. This has no doubt arisen from their having been examined in a dried state, in which many of their peculiarities are lost sight of; and the only hope which remains of the question being satisfactorily settled is, that some cultivator may collect all the forms that are known, and submit them for examination, while fresh, to some competent authority.

* C. Atkinsii (hyb; ♂, persicum ♀ coum).— Leaves ovate obtuse, cordate at the base with overlapping lobes, subcrenate, zoned with pale green, dull purple beneath; calyx teeth lance-shaped acute; tube of the corolla globose, mouth scarcely angular, petals broadly obovate acute; stamens included, style equalling the tube.—M.

Something of this kind, we are glad to know, is being attempted by Mr. Atkins of Painswick, to whom we are indebted for the accompanying illustrations of C. Atkinsii, and the forms, represented at a and b, in our figure, of C. ibericum. Mr. Atkins has for some years paid considerable attention to the family, and now possesses a very extensive collection of them, which he is annually extending by means of hybridization. The origin of C. Atkinsii is thus explained to us:—*

“After many ineffectual attempts,” writes Mr. Atkins, to produce a good cross between C. coum or C. vernum, and C. persicum, combining the neat habit of the two former, with the colour aud larger petals of the latter, having at the same time the foliage dark, yet relieved with a lighter band, or marbled, I at length succeeded in raising the hybrid now figured, from seeds produced by a variety of C. coum, impregnated with C. persicum, and this, I have every reason to believe, I shall be able to perpetuate, and thus introduce a new and most interesting feature into this beautiful family of plants. Amongst the seedlings, it was found that every plant deviating in the marking of the foliage from the seed-bearing parent, produced white or blush flowers, whilst those retaining its plain dark leaf, have invariably bloomed with different shades of the colour of that species.”

This account of its origin perfectly explains its appearance, it being, in fact, exactly intermediate between its parents as to size and form, and to some extent even in colour. The specimen which our vignette represents was exhibited last March, before the Horticultural Society, with about seventy fully expanded flowers, and bears full evidence of the success of Mr. Atkins’ mode of culture, which, we understand, is different from that generally practised, and which we hope, when some doubtful points shall have been cleared up, we may he permitted to make public.

* C. ibericum, “Goldie.”—Leaves exactly heart-shaped, with an open sinus, entire or very slightly sinuate-toothed, zoned with greyish-green, purple beneath; calyx teeth lance-shaped acute; tube of the corolla ventricose, mouth pentangular, with lunate sides; segments of the limb roundish obovate or oblong-obovate; stamens shorter than the blunt, simple stigma, which is included or very slightly exserted.—M.

Our figure of C. ibericum,* a beautiful, but little known species, was made, in January last, from Messrs. Bollison’s nursery at Tooting, aided at a and b by blossoms from some of Mr. Atkins’s more vigorously grown plants, which were communicated along with the hybrid C. Atkinsii. Its affinity is with C. vernum, hut it differs altogether from that species in its foliage.

In C. Atkinsii the leaves are large (two and a half by two inches), ovate obtuse cordate at the base, with a deep sinus the sides of which overlap, dark glossy green, with an irregular pale zone within the margin; the under surface is liver-coloured, or dull purple. The flowers are elevated on longish verrucose stalks, and are of a French white, marked with a deep crimson ovate blotch at the base of each segment; the calyx consists of five acute lance-shaped pubescent segments; the corolla has a short globose tube, and a limb of five broadly ohovate segments nearly seven-eighths of an inch long; the mouth of the tube is nearly circular, the angles being indistinct; the stamens are included, but the style equals the tube. The flowers are scentless.

C. ibericum produces flat heart-shaped leaves, having an open sinus, and the margin very slightly sinuate-dentate or entire; they are deep green, with an irregular heart-shaped belt of pale greyish-green some distance within the margin, the veins sunken on the upper face, prominent and green beneath, on a dull reddish purple ground. The flowers vary in colour; in some, they are pale rosy, or flesh-coloured, in other plants, deep rose-colour, in some they are white; but in all cases they are marked with a broad ovate spot at the base of the segments, which spot is either pimple or crimson, and is extended in the centre as far as the mouth, which, in the front view, thus shows five purple bars or spots; the bases of the segments are curved outwards at the margin, the mouth thus becoming pentangular, with concave sides. The calyx lobes are acutely lance-shaped; the tube of the corolla is ventricose, the segments of the limb either roundish obovate or oblong obovate. The stamens are quite inclosed, and are slightlyexceeded by the blunt, simple stigma, which is somewhat exserted.—M.