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.
  • Halmyra Herb.
  • Tiaranthus Herb.
  • Zouchia Raf.
  • Bollaea Parl.
  • Almyra Salisb.
  • Chapmanolirion Dinter
  • Mizonia A.Chev.

Pancratium is a genus of African and Eurasian perennial, herbaceous and bulbous plants in the Amaryllis family, subfamily Amaryllidoideae[2][3]

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.[4] Plants belonging to the genus Pancratium have been found in prehistoric Cretan frescoes.[5]

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.[6]


Many species have been published using the name Pancratium, but most have been transferred to other genera (Clinanthus Hymenocallis Ismene Proiphys Stenomesson).[1] 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:[1]


  1. ^ a b c Search for "Pancratium", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2013-02-13 
  2. ^ Stevens, P. F., Angiosperm Phylogeny Website: Asparagales: Amaryllidoideae 
  3. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, genere Pancratium
  4. ^ Synge, P. M. (1961). Collins Guide to Bulbs. ISBN 0-00-214016-0. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ Walters, S. M. (1986). The European Garden Flora, Vol. 1. Pteridophyta; Gymnospermae; Angiospermae — Alismataceae to Iridaceae. ISBN 0-521-24859-0. 
  7. ^ Snijman, D.A. & Victor, J.E. 2004. Pancratium tenuifolium Hochst. ex A.Rich. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2014.1. Accessed on 2015/04/07

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