The Revolution in Families
They have been having a discussion, in the Pacific Bulb Society list, about the new classifications of the Angiosperms. Family names have been in a flux since the start of the use of DNA sequences in reconstructing phylogenetic relationships. This goes back around 15 years, as I recall. Oddly enough, the last pre-DNA revision, in the 1980s, anticipated many of the changes that the DNA sequences forced plant scientists to make in the classification of flowering plants. The people causing the ruckus have reported their conclusions in Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III, 2009.
You may have noticed that, whereas almost every monocot flower other than iris and orchids was in the family Liliaceae in the old days, most of them are now not even in the same order (Liliales), let alone in the family Liliaceae itself. Most of our favorites (well, my favorites anyway) are now in the order Asparagales, including both orchids (Orchidaceae) and irises (Iridiaceae).
This includes the Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis family) and its close relatives Agapanthaceae (Agapanthus family) and Alliaceae (onion family). In fact, these three families are now combined into a single larger family, currently called simply Amaryllidaceae. I'm gratified that the name Amaryllidaceae is retained, but a bit sad for the alliums at losing their "Alliaceae."
Other families affected include Trilliaceae, the Trillium family, which is now included in Melanthiaceae. Of course, 30 years ago, it was in Liliaceae.
Hemerocallis, the daylilies, for a while enjoyed its own family, Hemerocallidaceae; now it is submerged into the family XANTHORRHOEACEAE as subfamily Hemerocallidoideae. Along with it are Asphodeloideae and Xanthorrhoeoideae.
Hyacinthaceae seems to have been submerged deeply into Asparagaceae, the Asparagus family. Agavaceae seems to be in there with it. I worry that the new family concept of Asparagaceae is becoming the same catch-all that the old concept of Liliaceae was.
A related lament concerns the reluctance of the gardening world, or at least of those folks in the media who create verbage and catalogs, to recognize that nomenclature has changed over the past 100-150 years. As noted in the Pacific Bulb Society list, catalogs still list "Cyclamen neapolitanum," a name that has been obsolete and superceeded by Cyclamen hederifolium for the last 50 or 75 years.
Then there is my favorite wrong name, "Amaryllis" (i.e., as in Dutch Hybrid Amaryllis) used for bulbs in the genus Hippeastrum. Botanically, Amaryllis is a small genus in South Africa containing one well-known species, Amaryllis belladonna, and perhaps one or two obscure and very rare other species. It grows very well in South Africa and in Southern California. A few people grow it in other Mediterranean climates as well, but it is relatively unknown outside those places.
On the other hand, Hippeastrum, as we all know here, is a genus native to South America. The wild species of Hippeastrum were turned into the modern "Dutch Hybrid Amaryllis" over the past century or two, mainly I suppose by the Dutch. They are definitely spectacular, but folks, they sure aren't "Amaryllis"!!!!
Common names, such as Naked Lady, Autumn Crocus, Daffodil, Spring Beauty, Jack in the Pulpit, Trout Lily, and countless more, are likely to be misleading once you get out of the narrow geographic location where you learned the common name in the first place. Different countries, and especially, different continents, often mean quite different flowers but use familiar names to label them.
Good gardening, from here in central Indiana
Look up technical terms in the Glossary of Plant Biology