Pancratium is a genus of about 18 species flowering plants in the family Amaryllidaceae, which also including 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 plants are herbaceous perennial, growing from bulbs. The flowers are large, white and fragrant. Perianth tube and 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.
"Pancratium" is derived from the Greek and means "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 has 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.
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