Pancratium maritimum – An ancient plant returns to the beaches of Milos

Pancratium maritimum  – An ancient plant returns to the beaches of Milos

IMERYS Industrial Minerals Greece Single-Member Société Anonyme

IMERYS Group is the world leader in mineral-based industrial solutions, offering specialized solutions necessary for its customers. IMERYS INDUSTRIAL MINERALS GREECE SINGLE MEMBER SOCIETE ANONYME mines and processes industrial minerals, mainly bentonite and perlite.



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Objective Action

Due to climate change and the recent development of coastal areas, many plant species on Milos island are endangered. One of them is the Pancratium maritimum  . The goal of Imerys was to save this plant species and plant new seedlings in more beaches every year, so that after some time the Pancratium maritimum   may grow again in all the sandy beaches of the island.  


Target Audience

Local society of Milos and visitors of the island, people of all ages.



Since 2018, two people have been conducting the project for 250 hours approximately.

By the end of August 2020, 1000 plants have been planted in the quarries of the company, covering reclamation areas of 1.200 square meters and 600 plants have been planted in 500 square meters of beaches.


Milos, one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean, Greece, is famous for its unique natural beauty and extraordinary geological history due to its volcanic origin. Due to climate change and various factors such as economic development, expansion of tourism activities etc. the local flora has been suffering and some species are threatened with extinction.

Among them, the Pancratium maritimum, also known as sea lily or lily of Plathiena, deserves special mention. It is a bulbous plant belonging to the Amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae). Blossoming begins in late July and ends early September. The flowers are big, white and have a pleasing, exotic and very subtle lily scent. From late May until bloom, the bulb hides deeply buried in the sand. Its black, lightweight seeds can float in the sea for long periods. By autumn, the currents will carry them a long distance eventually placing them on another beach to continue germinating. In the past, it was present in all sandy beaches of Milos. Unfortunately, rapid growth on the coastal areas all around the Mediterranean and Greece throughout the last fifty years has altered the plant's ecosystem. Its cultural significance should also be stressed, since it has been present since Antiquity, as has been documented on depictions of the Pancratium maritimum   on frescoes revealed on walls during the excavations of the Minoan palace in Knossos, Crete, or in the city of Akrotiri on Santorini island, a famous prehistoric settlement in the Aegean.

Acknowledging that this plant species may disappear, the Land Reclamation Department of Imerys set out to create expansion clusters where the plants may thrive in both mining areas near the seaside, where the company operates, as well as in selected beaches in the rest of the island. Τhe seeds were collected, and then they were planted and grown in the company plant nursery, and finally transferred to specific sites in the mining areas, in all cases near the seaside.

In 2018 the project was initiated by two people and it will be completed in three phases by the end of 2020.


Impact on Society

After the successful reproduction of the Pancratium maritimum, the Land Reclamation Department introduced it to the local society of Milos, to promote their involvement in the campaign for its protection and expansion. Positive impact is created by the project, as the community enjoys the benefits of reclamation and contribution to biodiversity conservation and management, as well as the promotion of tourism. Schoolchildren take part in info days and planting sessions, affirming environmental awareness.

Initiative Location

Pancratium maritimum   has returned to the Trachila, Heivadolimni, Tsigrado mines, to the Imerys facilities in Voudia, and to Papikinou and Pollonia beaches.


Working with Organization

Municipality of Milos and other local agencies as well as educational institutions

Workers Participation

Imerys Land Reclamation Department

Photos Videos

Benefits for Οrganization

Imerys is aware of the importance of protection and management of biodiversity, not only in the areas under its management but also of the protection and preservation of the natural environment in general. Positive results equal a return on natural capital, as well as the social license of the company, acceptance by society in general and adherence to legislation.

Connection with Global Goals

More Initiatives from Organization

Caring for Our Planet: Imerys Biodiversity Strategy

Contribution to biodiversity through the rehabilitation of Milos mines

Cooperation of companies and groups for the rescue of an employee in Milos – Power through Unity

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Endemic, rare, and endangered plant species of Milos – Saving the lost treasure of the island

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