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.
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)
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Leaves ending in a tendril; tepals 5–8 cm long, yellow, orange or red||Gloriosa|
|Leaves not ending in a tendril; tepals less than 15 mm long, white to pink, pale mauve, yellow-green or dark purplish||2|
|2||Leaves elongated, filiform to linear||3|
|Leaves broadly flattened, ovate to lanceolate|
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|3||Inflorescence an umbel; capsule septicidal||Burchardia|
|Inflorescence a small cyme, raceme or spike, or flowers solitary; capsule loculicidal|
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|4||Tepals 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-green||Wurmbea|
|Tepals without nectaries; capsule more than 10 mm long; tepals dark purplish|
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|5||Leaf base tapering; leaf 2–5 cm long, margins slightly undulate; tepals acute, margins not undulate||Schelhammera|
|Leaf base cordate; leaf 4–9 cm long, margins not undulate; tepals truncate to obtuse, margins undulate|
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