|THE SEA DAFFODIL - Pancratium maritimum|
Still wandering around northern Crete, I find that there is yet another gaping hole in my plant knowledge. After walking down to the beach earlier today I came across an absolute beauty of a plant which, after a quick bit of research, I found out to be the Sea Daffodil - Pancratium maritimum.
|Sea daffodil flowers|
Although it is classed as a true bulb, it is not remotely related to the Narcissus daffodil species that all of us in Northern Europe would be familiar with. However the resemblance is genuinely striking!
The sea daffodil grows on coastal sands or just above the high tide mark, in fact the latter part of its botanical name 'maritimum' means' of the seashore. The stunning, and highly ornamental white flowers are produced from August to October and release a gorgeous, exotic scent similar to lilies. However, because it is pollinated by a hawk-moth the perfume isn't released until the evening and even then it only becomes apparent during warm, windless nights.
It turns out that the sea daffodil is not receptive to its own pollen and furthermore the plant is able to recognize it as such. So by not releasing pollen during windy weather is a practical method to prevent the plant from wasting pollen (an expensive and valuable plant resource) and is perhaps a throwback to when this plant could have been self-pollinated which could have resulted in weakening the species gene pool.
Unlike most other bulbous plant the sea daffodil is evergreen although the leaves will often die back during hot summers.
For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO GROW THE SEA DAFFODIL
HOW TO PROPAGATE DAFFODILS AND NARCISSUS
SPIDER LILY - Hymenocallis species and cultivars
The Sea Daffodil - Pancratium maritimum