Sometimes included in Liliaceae - Colchiceae.
Habit and leaf form. Herbs. Perennial (above ground parts annual). Leaves basal and cauline. Plants with a basal concentration of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves. Young stems simple or branched, erect, herbaceous, or absent. Bulbaceous (tunicated), or cormous (ovoid, tunicated). Mesophytic. Leaves alternate; spiral, or distichous; sessile; sheathing. Leaf sheaths tubular, or not tubular. Leaves simple. Leaf blades entire; flat; linear, or lanceolate; linear (gradually tapering); parallel-veined; without cross-venules. Leaves without stipules. 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 perianth, or from the androecium.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes, or in racemes (raceme-like), or in fascicles (or clusters). The terminal inflorescence unit cymose, or racemose. Inflorescences scapiflorous, or not scapiflorous; terminal; scape simple or branched; inflorescence 1–4 flowered, irregularly bracteate. Flowers pedicellate (erect to spreading); bracteate; ebracteolate; small to large; regular; 3 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Perigone tube absent. Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; 1 -whorled; free; petaloid; without spots, or spotted; similar in the two whorls (in size and form); red (dark), or brown (or reddish-brown). Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 6. Androecial members free of the perianth; all equal; free of one another; 1 -whorled, or 2 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 6; all more or less similar in shape; diplostemonous; hypogynous, on the receptacle opposite the perianth segments; alterniperianthial. Anthers dorsifixed; versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; almost latrorse, or extrorse; tetrasporangiate. Gynoecium 3(–4) carpelled. The pistil 3 celled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious to synstylovarious; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 3 locular; sessile. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 3; free to partially joined; apical. Stigmas 3. Placentation axile. Ovules several to many; anatropous to campylotropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal. Fruit 3 celled. Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Cotyledons 1 (conspicuously coleoptile-like). Embryo straight. Testa without phytomelan.
Etymology. After Iphigenia, the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra in Greek mythology.