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The Cyclamen: A Delicate Yet Resilient Beauty

In a novel I am currently writing, the cyclamen flower plays a colorful and symbolic role. Through its uncanny resilience, the cyclamen is considered a symbol of sincere love and hope. In the book, the flower’s special messages become evident to the characters—and to the reader.

The cyclamen’s delicate beauty belies its strength and resilience. It is a perennial that can be found, depending on location, in white and in shades of fuchsia, pink, and red. It especially thrives in cool weather. Deep underneath the flowers and leaves, the water-retaining tuber allows it to withstand harsh conditions. When summer arrives, it may appear to have died. However, it is usually simply dormant. After hiding all summer, it reappears in autumn as the weather cools.


It is an appropriate flower to give at occasions of departure, like retirement or moving, as the individual may yet return. This flower has long been regarded as symbolic of sincere, deep love. And, as in true love, even a long separation does not lead to the demise of the relationship.

The supple stems of the cyclamen bend gracefully to lead the fruit toward the earth during the setting, which is the process of the fruit’s formation. Reminiscent of a mother bending toward her young children, the cyclamen also symbolizes maternal love, a theme that runs through my upcoming novel.

Though the cyclamen has been exported to numerous far-flung locales, it is native to the east Mediterranean, notably Cyprus and Israel. In 2006, the Cyprus cyclamen was designated the national flower of Cyprus. In 2007, Cyclamen persicum (Hebrew: rakefet) was elected the national flower of Israel. Though it grows wild all over the country, it is especially colorful in the north, where it thrives in the cool climate of the mountainous Golan region.

In 2013, Anemone coronaria became Israel’s national flower, slightly edging out the cyclamen in a new national poll. However, a special love and affinity for the cyclamen endures among the people of Israel, who identify with its extraordinary resilience. A young German tourist, writing in her college newspaper, may have said it best:

I was comforted and encouraged by a small flower which grows across Israel. Cyclamen . . . is known to thrive in harsh conditions, and stands as a symbol of the Israeli people. Israel has long endured . . . harsh conditions. Yet, time after time, the people continue to persevere, and hold true to their ethnicity and religion. Despite the pain of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, or the bombs that threaten the people of Israel today, the Israeli people stand their ground. My ten days in Israel brought perspective to my life, as now I am inspired to live my life as a cyclamen—thriving under harsh conditions.

Christa Lavoie

A wide array of locations within Israel provides the primary setting for my novel. Against this backdrop, my main characters face heartrending challenges. Yet, like the resolute cyclamen, they live not only to survive, but to thrive.


  1. “List of National Symbols of Israel,” Wikipedia
  2. “The National Plant of Cyprus,” The Press and Information Office of Cyprus
  3. Christa Lavoie, “Living Like a Cyclamen Flower: What Israel Taught me About Resilience,” in The Collegian, January 17, 2019
  4. Connor Lowry, “Fun Flower Facts: Cyclamen,” Grower Direct Fresh Cut Flowers, August 26, 2012
  5. “Flower of Love, Flower of Art,” https://www.cyclamen.com/en/consumer/find-out-about-cyclamen/cyclamen-stories/flower-of-love-flower-of-art