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The Lily Family: Liliaceae

The Liliaceae is the family of true lilies and related plants. Members of the giant group Lilianae, the lilies have storage organs that are usually bulbs, corms, or rhizomes. The flowers are bisexual and regular; they are characteristically in a raceme at the top of a stalk. (Discussion based on V.H. Heywood, "Flowering Plants of the World" Mayflower Books, New York, 1978.)

The older usage of the family Liliaceae was an all-inclusive collection of plants that are considered in most recent classifications to belong to many families in at least two orders, Asparagales and Liliales.

Besides the familiar lilies of the garden, other members of this family include many wild species and cultivars of the genera Lilium, Fritillaria, Tulipa, Nomocharis, and Erythronium.

Other genera of flowers sometimes included in the Lily Family are now in their own families: Calochortus in the Calochortaceae; Colchicum in the Colchicaceae; Trillium in the Trilliaceae.

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James E. Shields,
Last revised: 07 January 2010.
© Copyright 2010 by James E. Shields. All rights reserved.