did not know about this website when i took the photo, so no object in the photo for scale. but i can say the blooms were about 3/4″ across. there were no leaves on the stem, and no basal leaves. the site were found was moist, deeply shaded oak/hickory creek bottom in Pickens county, SC. date was 16 OCT 2012. i noticed that in the same area some plants that i normally consider spring bloomers were nonetheless blooming, ie, Canada Violet, Birdsfoot Violet, and Hepatica.
have searched three books and numerous websites, and i still have no idea what this is. can you help?
thanks and regards,
your plant is a hardy Cyclamen, probably Cyclamen coum or possibly Cyclamen hederifolium. They can become established by seeds, but in general they are persistant from cultivation. Some additional information on Cyclamen hederifolium is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclamen_hederifolium and for Cyclamen coum here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclamen_coum
It is not native, so it would most likely not be in any wildflower books for North America. The leaves generally come out as it flowers or later, and last all winter.
Dr. Steven R. Hill SCNPS