Sometimes included in Liliaceae.
Habit and leaf form. Herbs. Perennial. Leaves basal. Plants with a basal concentration of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves. Young stems basal, herbaceous, short. Bulbaceous (tunicated, more or less globose or subglobose). Mesophytic. Leaves alternate; spiral, or distichous; ‘herbaceous’; petiolate (long, channelled above), or sessile; sheathing; simple. Leaf blades entire; linear, or lanceolate, or oblong, or ovate, or orbicular; elliptic to ovate (or kidney-shape); prominent midvein, primary veins looped, secondary cross veins parallel; without cross-venules; cordate, or cuneate at the base (or sheathing). Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire (flat or undulate). Leaves with a persistent basal meristem, and basipetal development. 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.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in umbels. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences scapiflorous; terminal; scape erect, unbranched, leafless; with involucral bracts (2–4 bracts, free, imbricate, ovate); spatheate. Flowers pedicellate (7–45 mm long); ebracteate (floral); ebracteolate; regular; 3 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic, or pentacyclic. Perigone tube present. Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; 2 -whorled (3+3, but with a conspicuous ‘corona’, like an extra, inner whorl); isomerous; basally joined; petaloid; similar in the two whorls; white (matching the staminal corona). Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 6. Androecial members adnate; all equal; free of one another; nearly always 2 -whorled (3+3). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens (at least, reduction to staminodes not mentioned by Dahlgren et al. 1985). Stamens 6 (in 2 whorls); all more or less similar in shape; isomerous with the perianth (rarely), or diplostemonous; at the throat of the perianth tube; alterniperianthial; filantherous (the filaments sometimes appendaged alongside the anthers). Filaments appendiculate. Anthers dorsifixed (epipeltate), or basifixed (rarely); versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate. Gynoecium 3 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled, or 3 celled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; inferior. Ovary unilocular, or plurilocular; 1 locular, or 3 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 1 (or 3); 1–3 - lobed; capitate. Placentation axile. Ovules in the single cavity 2; 2 per locule; non-arillate; anatropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit fleshy, or non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules splitting irregularly, or loculicidal. Fruit 1–3 seeded (bulbils). Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Seeds winged, or wingless. Cotyledons 1. Embryo straight. Testa encrusted with phytomelan, or without phytomelan.