Sometimes included in Liliaceae.
Habit and leaf form. Herbs; laticiferous (mucilaginous), or non-laticiferous and without coloured juice. Perennial (the leaves annual). Leaves basal. Plants with a basal concentration of leaves (but sometimes the leaves long-sheathed so as to appear cauline); bulbaceous (tunicated). Mesophytic, or xerophytic. Leaves alternate; spiral, or distichous; sessile; sheathing. Leaf sheaths with free margins. Leaves aromatic (garlic scented, with allylic sulphides), or without marked odour; simple; epulvinate. Leaf blades entire; flat; linear; linear; parallel-veined; without cross-venules. Leaf blade margins entire. Leaf anatomy. Hairs absent. Extra-floral nectaries absent. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening absent.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Floral nectaries present. Nectar secretion from the gynoecium (from septal nectaries). Entomophilous.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers usually solitary (representing a reduced, spatheate umbel), or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’ (occasionally with additional flowers); terminal; in umbels. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences scapiflorous; terminal; with involucral bracts (spathal bracts); spatheate (the spathe split into 2 valves, purple veined, scarious). Flowers pedicellate; ebracteolate; regular; 3 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Perigone tube present (relatively long, by contrast with Allium). Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; 2 -whorled (3+3); isomerous; joined (tubular, below); petaloid; similar in the two whorls; violet (to blue, fading almost to white), or blue. Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 6. Androecial members adnate (three at the base of the tube, and three higher up); markedly unequal; free of one another; 2 -whorled (3+3). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 6; all more or less similar in shape; isomerous with the perianth; alterniperianthial; filantherous (the filaments flat). Filaments appendiculate, or not appendiculate. Anthers dorsifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. Gynoecium 3 carpelled. The pistil 3 celled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious, or eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 3 locular; sessile. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 1; obscurely 3 - lobed. Placentation axile. Ovules 20–50 per locule (numerous); campylotropous, or anatropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule; 20–100 seeded (many). Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Cotyledons 1. Embryo straight to curved. Testa encrusted with phytomelan.
Etymology. Derivation obscure.
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Western Australian Herbarium (1998–). FloraBase—the Western Australian Flora. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/