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August - Pancratium Maritimum

A beautiful flower that has bloomed for thousands of years in the hot and humid conditions in Greece; depicted in ancient illustrations from Crete in the palace of Knossos and in Cycladic frescoes in Santorini. The "sea lily" was of great religious significance to the Ancient Greeks of Mycenae, and even today is known as the "Virgin Mary Lily'' as it is in bloom August 15th, a holy day to the Greeks.

It is a perennial that blooms from August to October. Mid July it begins to bloom on sandy beaches where the bulbs are buried, close to the sea where the wind and waves spread salt water droplets onto the flowers. At the end of August it reaches its peak and the smell of the flowers is exotic and quite incredible. Having survived thousands of years under such harsh conditions unfortunately now, thanks to human intervention, it has been classified as an endangered species that needs protection. We are lucky enough to have many growing on our non developed beaches and every summer that beautiful sight and smell is still unspoiled!

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