Description: Herbs with bulbs or rarely rhizomes.
Leaves few, basal, ± linear, longitudinal veins ± parallel; stipules absent.
Inflorescences umbellate, mostly pedunculate, flowers solitary to many, subtended by an involucre of membranous bracts. Flowers actinomorphic to slightly zygomorphic, 3-merous, bisexual. Perianth with or without tube; tepals or lobes 6 in 2 series. Stamens 6, free or inserted on tube below lobes; filaments free or fused and forming corona; anthers 2-locular, epipeltate or basifixed, dehiscing by longitudinal slits or rarely apical pores. Ovary inferior or half-inferior, usually 3-locular or rarely 1-locular; styles slender with capitate or 3-lobed stigma.
Fruit a capsule or fleshy and indehiscent; seeds numerous.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 85 genera, 1100 species, mostly tropical & subtropical with some extending into temperate regions. Australia: c. 8 genera, 17 species, all States.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Amaryllidaceae, Order: Asparagales)
These genera have often been included in the Liliaceae s. lat. in the past. Many taxa are widely cultivated as ornamentals; these include species of Amaryllis, Clivia, Habranthus, Hippeastrum, Hymenocallis, Leucojum, Narcissus, Nerine, Pancratium and Zephyranthes. Bulbs and fruit of some species are reported toxic to stock and humans if eaten.
Text by G. J. Harden & N. Frischknecht (1993); edited KL Wilson (Aug 2013)
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|Flowers in umbels (2–30-flowered)||4|
|2||Flowers with a corona; perianth tube more than 10 mm long; scape solid; [perianth and corona yellow or perianth white and corona yellow or orange]||Narcissus|
|Flowers without a corona; perianth tubular only near base; scape hollow|
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|3||Stamens of 2 different lengths; perianth mainly white, outer segments more or less tinged pink; flowers actinomorphic, held erect||Zephyranthes|
|Stamens of 4 different lengths; perianth bright yellow, orange-yellow or pink; flowers slightly zygomorphic, held slightly obliquely|
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|4||Scape strongly compressed; fruit a fleshy berry||Clivia|
|Scape round in cross-section; fruit a capsule|
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|5||Flowers with a corona||6|
|Flowers without a corona|
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|6||Perianth and corona white; leaves 2–35 cm wide||7|
|Perianth yellow, white, pink or purplish; corona yellow, orange or pink; leaves 0.5–2.5 cm wide|
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|7||Leaves with ovate blade and petiole more than 10 cm long; flowers with pedicels 7–45 mm long; perianth lobes less than 2 cm long||Proiphys|
|Leaves straplike; flowers sessile; perianth lobes 7–11 cm long|
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|8||Tepals pink to mauve||9|
|Tepals white (with green spots in Leucojum), yellow, orange or red|
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|9||Flowers appearing before the leaves emerge||Amaryllis|
|Flowers appearing after the leaves have emerged|
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|10||Tepals with wavy margins||Nerine|
|Tepals without wavy margins|
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|11||Perianth less than 2 cm long, tepals free or shortly fused, white with conspicuous greenish spot near apex of each tepal; anthers dehiscing by apical pores||Leucojum|
|Perianth more than 4 cm long, conspicuously tubular but free part of tepals often recurved at maturity, white, yellow or orange-red, without a conspicuous greenish spot; anthers dehiscing by longitudinal slits|
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|12||Tepals white or pale yellow||Crinum|
|Tepals orange-red with yellowish green bases|
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