Sometimes included in Liliaceae.
Habit and leaf form. Herbs (sometimes acaulous); laticiferous (mucilaginous), or non-laticiferous and without coloured juice. Perennial (the leaves annual). Leaves basal. Plants with a basal concentration of leaves; bulbaceous (bulbs ovoid, bulblets very numerous and ellipsoid). Mesophytic, or xerophytic. Leaves alternate; spiral, or distichous; sessile; sheathing. Leaf sheaths with free margins. Leaves without marked odour (scarcely onion-scented); 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 aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in umbels. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences scapiflorous (the scape long, unbranched, leafless); terminal; umbellate, representing one or more contracted, helicoid cymes; with involucral bracts (two of them); spatheate (with reference to the two involucral bracts, which are persistent, shorter than the umbel, hyaline, remaining connate at the base after opening). Flowers pedicellate (unequal in length, 1–5 cm, erect); bracteate. Bracts persistent. Flowers ebracteolate; fragrant; regular; 3 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Perigone tube present (short). Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; 2 -whorled (3+3); isomerous; basally shortly joined; petaloid; similar in the two whorls; green and white, or brown and white (tube greenish or brownish, lobes white with a dull red midvein). Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 6. Androecial members adnate (to the lower part of the perigone); all equal; 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 (usually), or reduced in number relative to the adjacent 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. Placentation axile. Ovules 4–12 per locule; campylotropous, or anatropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal. Fruit 20–100 seeded (many). Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Cotyledons 1. Embryo straight to curved. Testa encrusted with phytomelan.
Etymology. From the Greek for "spurious, false" and "garlic".