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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Pancratium tenuifolium

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Asparagales > Family: Amaryllidaceae > Genus: Pancratium

Pancratium tenuifolium Pancratium tenuifolium

Pancratium tenuifolium, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe. [photo C Wenham ©, Flora of Zimbabwe]

The only species of Pancratium native to southern Africa. It is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa ranging from West Africa through East Africa to Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, where it has been recorded in the Kruger National Park.

The San in Botswana evidently induce visual hallucinations by rubbing the bulb of Pancratium tenuifolium into a cut on the head. One of the constituents of the bulb is galanthamine which is a cholinesterase inhibitor and an analgesic (van Wyk & Gericke 2000).

Ecological interactions



Publications (by date)

  • Bjørnstad, I. 1973. A revision of the genus Pancratium L. (Amaryllidaceae) in Africa south of the Sahara. Norwegian Journal of Botany 29: 281-291.

  • van Wyk, B.E. & Gericke, N. 2000. People's plants. A guide to useful plants of southern Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria.

  • Martins DJ, Johnson SD. 2007. Hawkmoth pollination of aerangoid orchids in Kenya, with special reference to nectar sugar concentration gradients in the floral spurs. American Journal of Botany 94(4): 650-659. http://dx.doi.org/10.3732/ajb.94.4.650