Autumn Crocus and Gloriosa Lily Family

Perennial, mostly cormous or rhizomatous herbs, sometimes climbers, rarely shrubs or tuberous rooted. Leaves simple, entire, linear to ovate, basal. Flowers radially symmetrical, bisexual, 1-several in terminal, axillary or scapose racemes or panicles. Tepals 3+3, free or fused. Stamens 6, free. Ovary superior, 3-chambered with numerous ovules. Fruit a manyseeded, dry, dehiscent capsule. Seeds brown, often with a coloured appendage.

John Conran

The family is usually grown for the flowers, both as pot and garden subjects and for the cut flower trade.The most closely related family is Liliaceae (in the narrow sense).

About 20 genera, mostly in Africa and Asia minor, extending to Australia, New Zealand and N America. 6 genera native to Australia, 3 endemic.

The rootstocks of some genera are highly poisonous and sometimes used medicinally (e.g. Colchicum), but those of the native Burchardia and Wurmbea are edible and were used by indigenous peoples for food.

Unspotted flowers with superior ovaries; tepals individually enclosing anthers in bud (in free-tepalled taxa); deeply divided styles; capsular fruits and arillate seeds.

Source: Conran, J. (2005). Colchicaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Lilianae
order      Liliales
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
genus        Bulbocodium L.
genus        Burchardia R.Br.
genus        Colchicum L.
genus        Disporum D.Don
genus        Gloriosa L.
genus        Littonia Hook.
genus        Merendera Ramond
genus        Onixotis Raf.
genus        Sandersonia Hook.
genus        Schelhammera R.Br.
genus        Wurmbea