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Synonyms: Alliaceae APNI*
Gilliesiaceae APNI*
Agapanthaceae APNI*

Description: Perennial herbs, with tunicated bulbs enclosed by membranous rather than fibrous scales or rarely rhizomes.

Leaves few, basal, ± linear, sheathing scape to varying heights, lamina with longitudinal veins ± parallel; stipules absent.

Inflorescences scapose, terminal, solitary or umbellate, mostly pedunculate, flowers solitary to many, subtended by an involucre of membranous, free or united bracts which initially enclose the flowers in bud. Flowers actinomorphic to slightly zygomorphic, 3-merous, bisexual, usually pedicellate. Perianth with or without tube; tepals or lobes 6 in 2 whorls, often persistent in fruit. Stamens 6, free or inserted on tube below lobes; filaments usually filiform, free or fused and forming corona; anthers 2-locular, epipeltate or basifixed, versatile, introrse, dehiscing by longitudinal slits or rarely apical pores. Ovary inferior, half-inferior, or superior, usually 3-locular or rarely 1-locular; placentation axile; styles slender with capitate or 3-lobed stigma.

Fruit a loculicidal capsule or fleshy and indehiscent; seeds few to numerous, often black and angular or subglobose, not winged.

Photo D. Hardin

Photo D. Hardin

Photo J. & P. Edwards

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 80 genera, c. 2100 species, mostly tropical & subtropical with some extending into temperate regions. Australia: c. 12 genera, 28 species, all States.

External links:
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 Allium, Amaryllis, Clivia, Habranthus, Hippeastrum, Hymenocallis, Leucojum, Narcissus, Nerine, Pancratium and Zephyranthes. Allium and Nothoscordum are widespread weeds. Bulbs and fruit of some species are reported toxic to stock and humans if eaten. Amaryllidaceae has been expanded to include the onion family, Alliaceae, with Amaryllidaceae as the conserved name.

Text by G. J. Harden & N. Frischknecht (1993); D.C. Godden (1993); edited K.L. Wilson (Aug 2013) and R.L. Barrett (Nov. 2021)
Taxon concept: APG IV.

 Key to the genera 
1Flowers solitary2
Flowers in umbels (2–30-flowered)5
2Flowers 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 tube up to 12 mm long; scape hollow or solid
                       Back to 1
3Stamens of 4 different lengths; perianth bright yellow, orange-yellow or pink; flowers slightly zygomorphic, held slightly obliquelyHabranthus
Stamens of 2 different lengths; perianth mainly white or blue to purple, outer segments more or less tinged pink; flowers actinomorphic, held erect
                       Back to 2
4Perianth lobes to 16 mm long, blue with dark blue markings; tepals fused into a tube c. 12 mm longIpheion
Perianth lobes 30–50 mm long, mainly white; tepals free
                       Back to 3
5Scape strongly compressed; fruit a fleshy berryClivia
Scape round in cross-section; fruit a capsule
                       Back to 1
6Flowers with a corona7
Flowers without a corona
                       Back to 5
7Perianth yellow, white, pink or purplish; corona yellow, orange or pink; leaves 0.5–2.5 cm wideCalostemma
Perianth and corona white; leaves 2–35 cm wide
                       Back to 6
8Leaves strap-like; flowers sessile; perianth lobes 7–11 cm longHymenocallis
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
                       Back to 7
9Tepals pink to mauve or blue10
Tepals white (with green spots in Leucojum), yellow, orange or red
                       Back to 6
10Flowers appearing before the leaves emergeAmaryllis
Flowers appearing after the leaves have emerged
                       Back to 9
11Tepals with wavy marginsNerine
Tepals without wavy margins
                       Back to 10
12Tepals 40–45 mm long, (white or) pale to dark blueAgapanthus
Tepals 90–100 mm long, (white or) pale pink to whitish
                       Back to 11
13Perianth less than 2 cm long, tepals free or shortly fused, mostly white14
Perianth more than 4 cm long, conspicuously tubular (or free in Agapanthus) but free part of tepals often recurved at maturity, white, yellow, orange-red or blue
                       Back to 9
14Tepals white with conspicuous greenish spot near apex of each tepal; anthers dehiscing by apical poresLeucojum
                       Back to
15Plants with an onion- or garlic-like odour when crushed; ovules usually 2 per loculus; style gynobasicAllium
Plants with little or no onion- or garlic-like odour when crushed; ovules usually 4–12 per loculus; style terminal
                       Back to
Tepals orange-red with yellowish green bases
                       Back to 13
16Tepals white or pale yellow17
17Tepals 40–45 mm long, white (or pale to dark blue)Agapanthus
Tepals 90–100 mm long, white (or pale pink to whitish)
                       Back to 16

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