PlantNET Home DONATE TODAY | PlantNET Home | Search NSW Flora | Contact Us  
Plant Name Search
Index Search
Spatial Search
Identification Keys
Telopea Journal
Other Data Sources

Family Colchicaceae

Synonyms: Uvulariaceae APNI*

Description: Erect or sometimes climbing herbs with rhizomes or corms.

Leaves few and basal or numerous and scattered along an erect aerial stem, mostly linear to lanceolate, dorsiventral, lamina usually with numerous longitudinal veins; stipules absent.

Inflorescence terminal on herbaceous stem, racemose, cymose or rarely flowers solitary. Flowers actinomorphic, 3-merous, bisexual or more rarely unisexual and than plants dioecious or polygamous. Tepals 6, in 2 whorls, ± similar in size and shape, free or basally fused. Nectaries present at base of tepals. Stamens usually 6; filaments free; anthers usually extrorse, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary superior, 3-locular; ovule several–many per loculus; styles 3, or style 3-lobed.

Fruit capsular; seeds few–many.

Distribution and occurrence: World: 15 genera, 285 species, widespread, Africa, Mediterranean, Asia, Australia, New Zealand. Australia: 5 native genera, c. 35 species, all States.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Colchicaceae, Order: Liliales)

These genera have often been included in the Liliaceae s. lat. but are supported as a distinct family in all recent classifications. Members of this family contain tropolonic alkaloids, including the toxic colchicine.

Text by G.J. Harden (1993). Updated by R.L. Barrett, Apr. 2021; KL Wilson (April 2023)
Taxon concept:

 Key to the genera 
1Leaves ending in a tendril; tepals 5–8 cm long, yellow, orange or redGloriosa
Leaves not ending in a tendril; tepals less than 15 mm long, white to pink, pale mauve, yellow-green or dark purplish2
2Leaves elongated, filiform to linear3
Leaves broadly flattened, ovate to lanceolate
                       Back to 1
3Inflorescence an umbel; capsule septicidalBurchardia
Inflorescence a small cyme, raceme or spike, or flowers solitary; capsule loculicidal
                       Back to 2
4Tepals with 1 or 2 nectaries on inner surface; capsule 2.5–10 mm long; tepals white withpink to purple or white markings, or p0ink or pale yellow-greenWurmbea
Tepals without nectaries; capsule more than 10 mm long; tepals dark purplish
                       Back to 3
5Leaf base tapering; leaf 2–5 cm long, margins slightly undulate; tepals acute, margins not undulateSchelhammera
Leaf base cordate; leaf 4–9 cm long, margins not undulate; tepals truncate to obtuse, margins undulate
                       Back to 2

  Privacy | Copyright | Disclaimer | About PlantNET | Cite PlantNET