Pancratium (plant)

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Pacratium maritimum Paestum.jpg
Pancratium maritimum
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Genus: Pancratium
Dill. ex L.

Pancratium is a genus of about 21 species of perennial, herbaceous and bulbous plants in the family Amaryllidaceae, subfamily Amaryllidoideae,[1] which latter also includes the genera Narcissus (true daffodils) and Galanthus (snowdrops). The genus is found along the coastline of the Mediterranean area extending to the Canary Islands, tropical Africa and tropical Asia. The flowers are large, white and fragrant. The perianth tube and the corona are present. It differs from the similar Hymenocallis in its numerous seeds with a thin black skin. Plants belonging to the genus Pancratium have been found in prehistoric Cretan frescoes.

The name "Pancratium" is derived from the Greek and means "all-strength", probably referring to the strength of a plant that can tolerate extreme climates. Pancratium species often inhabit extremely dry and sandy areas.


Many species have been published under Pancratium, but most have been transferred to other genera. Only a few species are cultivated. P. maritimum and P. illyricum being the hardiest for outdoor cultivation, but shy flowering in cool areas. P. zeylanicum is sometimes grown as a hothouse container plant.[citation needed]

As of February 2013, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families accepted 21 species in the genus:[2]


  1. ^ Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards), Angiosperm Phylogeny Website: Asparagales: Amaryllidoideae  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Search for "Pancratium", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2013-02-13 


  • Synge, P. M. (1961). Collins Guide to Bulbs. ISBN 0-00-214016-0. 
  • Walters, S. M. (1986). The European Garden Flora, Vol. 1. Pteridophyta; Gymnospermae; Angiospermae — Alismataceae to Iridaceae. ISBN 0-521-24859-0. 
  • Kandeler, R.; Ullrich, W. R. (6 January 2009). "Symbolism of plants: examples from European-Mediterranean culture presented with biology and history of art: FEBRUARY: Sea-daffodil and narcissus". Journal of Experimental Botany 60 (2): 353–355. doi:10.1093/jxb/erp012. 

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