Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Asparagales - Family: Amaryllidaceae
Sea Daffodil Pancratium maritimum is a perennial monocot that grows from a bulb. Its dark-green strap-like leaves remain green through the winter months but sometimes turn brown just as the flowers are opening.. Each stem, typically 30cm long, bears an umbel of three or more daffodil-shaped white flowers typically 6 to 8cm across with six pointed petals and a white corola. It may sees surprising, but these pure-white flowers produce shiny black seeds some of which may be seen strewn around the plant often for several months after the flowers have died back.
The Sea Daffodil is one of the few flowers that bloom late in the year in the Mediterranean region, although its presence is obvious throughout the year because its long, tough leaves can be found on beaches right up until the plant produces flowers between July and October.
Not only can this remarkable plant withstand the soaring temperatures of a Mediterranean summer, but it is also specially adapted to thrive in the harsh, salt-laden conditions of the sandy beaches which are its home.
These plants can be seen throughout the Mediterranean region, including many sites along the coast of the Algarve in southern Portugal. The specimens shown on this page were found in Spain during July.
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