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Family Amaryllidaceae

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.

Photo D. Hardin

Photo D. Hardin

Photo J. & P. Edwards

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.

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 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)
Taxon concept:

 Key to the genera 
1Flowers solitary2
Flowers in umbels (2–30-flowered)4
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 tubular only near base; scape hollow
                       Back to 1
3Stamens of 2 different lengths; perianth mainly white, outer segments more or less tinged pink; flowers actinomorphic, held erectZephyranthes
Stamens of 4 different lengths; perianth bright yellow, orange-yellow or pink; flowers slightly zygomorphic, held slightly obliquely
                       Back to 2
4Scape strongly compressed; fruit a fleshy berryClivia
Scape round in cross-section; fruit a capsule
                       Back to 1
5Flowers with a corona6
Flowers without a corona
                       Back to 4
6Perianth and corona white; leaves 2–35 cm wide7
Perianth yellow, white, pink or purplish; corona yellow, orange or pink; leaves 0.5–2.5 cm wide
                       Back to 5
7Leaves with ovate blade and petiole more than 10 cm long; flowers with pedicels 7–45 mm long; perianth lobes less than 2 cm longProiphys
Leaves straplike; flowers sessile; perianth lobes 7–11 cm long
                       Back to 6
8Tepals pink to mauve9
Tepals white (with green spots in Leucojum), yellow, orange or red
                       Back to 5
9Flowers appearing before the leaves emergeAmaryllis
Flowers appearing after the leaves have emerged
                       Back to 8
10Tepals with wavy marginsNerine
Tepals without wavy margins
                       Back to 9
11Perianth less than 2 cm long, tepals free or shortly fused, white with conspicuous greenish spot near apex of each tepal; anthers dehiscing by apical poresLeucojum
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
                       Back to 8
12Tepals white or pale yellowCrinum
Tepals orange-red with yellowish green bases
                       Back to 11

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