Synonyms: Aloeaceae APNI*
Description: Mostly perennial or annual herbs with or without bulbous rhizome or shrubby and with a stem up to several metres high.
Leaves cauline or basal, linear to triangular, hollow or solid, venation longitudinal, sessile. Scape hollow, usually smooth, sometimes woody; inflorescence a raceme or panicle, simple or branched; flowers pedicellate; bracts scarious, with 1–several dark veins, persistent at base of pedicels, branches and sometimes along branches.
Flowers actinomorphic or sometimes zygomorphic, 3-merous, bisexual. Tepals 6, in 2 whorls, equal or unequal, free or ± fused into a tube; tepals or lobes spreading to varying degrees. Stamens 6; filaments free, glabrous or with conspicuous hairs; anthers dorsifixed to ± basifixed, versatile, introrse, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary superior, 3-locular; ovules 1–numerous per loculus, placentation axile; style solitary; stigma entire or lobed.
Fruit a loculicidal capsule; seeds black, silver-grey, brown or red-brown.
Distribution and occurrence: World: at least 17 genera, c. 814 species, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia. Australia: 5 genera, 11 species, all States.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae, Order: Asparagales)
These genera have often been included in the Liliaceae s. lat.; recent studies suggest that this family should be broadened to include Xanthorrhoeaceae and Hemerocallidaceae.
Text by D. C. Godden (1993); edited KL Wilson (July 2015)
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Flowers white; inflorescence a simple or branched panicle||2|
|Flowers yellow to red; inflorescence a raceme||3|
|2||Base of leaves broadened and membranous; leaves hollow; scape hollow; inflorescence a simple panicle; ovules 1 or 2 per loculus||Asphodelus|
|Base of leaves surrounded by membranous sheaths; leaves hollow at base; scape usually solid; inflorescence a divaricately branched panicle; ovules more than 2 per loculus|
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|3||Perianth 4–25 mm long; tepals yellow with brown central stripe; capsule globose to obovoid||Bulbine|
|Perianth more than 25 mm long; tepals red, salmon-orange or yellow-green; capsule linear to oblong or ovoid|
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|4||Leaves fleshy, succulent, without distinct keel, more than 4 cm wide; margins sharply toothed with teeth 0.5–5 mm long; bracts several-veined||Aloe|
|Leaves papery and thin (often fibrous), distinctly keeled, less than 3 cm wide; margins smooth to minutely toothed or with a few scattered teeth towards apex; bracts 1-veined|
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