General description:- Perennial herbs, often with bulbs, corms, rhizomes or tuberous roots; sometimes climbers, rarely annuals or small shrubs.

Flowers:- Usually in racemes or panicles, more rarely solitary or in cymes or umbels, regular or slightly zygomorphic, usually hermaphrodite. Perianth of two whorls, each of (2-)3(-5) usually petaloid segments, free or variously united (connate). Stamens usually as many as perianth-segments, free or connate. Ovary 3-celled (3-locular), superior (very rarely 1-locular or semi-inferior); styles 1 or 3(-5).

Fruit:- The ripe capsule splitting into the cells, i.e. splits not at the lines of junction between the locules (i.e. septa) but along the midrib or dorsal suture.
(loculicidal) or splitting along the lines of junction of the carpels, i.e. along the septa, the fruit valves remaining attached and not falling off (septicidal).


General description:- Glabrous, bulbous perennials.

Bulb:- Usually globose, with few, tightly-packed scales and thin, translucent tunic which disappears with increased bulb-size.

Leaves:- Verticillate, opposite or alternate.

Flowers:- Solitary, rarely in few-flowered racemes, nodding. Perianth bell-shaped (campanulate), or conical-campanulate, the segments often marked with alternating squares of dark and light colour (tessellations), and often with a longitudinal stripe of clear green down the middle (fascia). Nectaries conspicuous, at the base or at the point of inflection of the perianth-segments. Filaments inserted slightly above base of anther. Style entire or 3-fid, falling early (caducous).

Fruit:- A 6-angled, flat-topped, erect capsule, sometimes with 6 longitudinal wings.

Key features:-
1) Style well-developed,
2) Flowers nodding, variously coloured, but usually tinged, tessellated or striped with purple, brown or green.


General description:-
Bulbous perennials.

Stems:- Erect, solitary, unbranched, leafy.

Flowers:- Solitary or in a few-flowered umbel or raceme. Perianth cylindrical-campanulate to rotate, of 6 free, usually yellow segments. Stamens 6, inserted at the base of the perianth-segments, included; anthers basifixed.

Fruit:- A loculicidal capsule with many seeds.

Basal leaves arise directly from the bulb; cauline leaves are intended to include those subtending the first branch of the inflorescence; leaves above the first branch are considered as bracts.

Key features:-
1) Flowers erect or horizontal, yellow or white.
2) Perianth-segments yellow (rarely white), without a nectary.


2, in a common tunic.

Leaves:- Basal 2, thread-like (filiform); cauline alternate, more or less glabrous.

Fruit:- Seeds subglobose.


2, in a common tunic.

Leaves:- Basal 2, thread-like (filiform); cauline alternate, more or less glabrous.

Fruit:- Seeds subglobose.


General description:- Bulbous perennials.

Bulbs:- Of overlapping scales, without a tunic.

Leaves:- Numerous, verticillate or scattered, usually decreasing in size up the stem.

Flowers:- Solitary or in a raceme, erect or nodding. Perianth-segments 6, free, petaloid, erect to strongly recurved, caducous. Nectary-furrows present. Anthers dorsifixed, versatile; filaments filiform, often slightly flattened. Style long; stigma 3-lobed.

Fruit:- An obovoid capsule, more or less 6-angled. Seeds numerous, flat.

Key features:-
1) Leaves not sheathing.
2) Perianth campanulate or with revolute segments.


General description:-
Bulbous perennials.

Bulb:- Tunics usually lined inside with hairs, occasionally glabrous.

Leaves:- Cauline, few, alternate, somewhat fleshy, decreasing in size up the stem.

Flowers:- Usually solitary, occasionally up to 4. Perianth-segments 6, free, petaloid, caducous. Nectaries absent. Anthers basifixed, introrse; filaments dilated towards the base. Style short or absent.

Fruit:- A globose or ellipsoid capsule. Seeds flat, numerous.

Key features:-
1) Cauline leaves not spotted.
2) Perianth segments not deflexed.
3) Stigma sessile.


Flowers:- Filaments with a hairy boss near the base. Perianth-segments usually ciliate at the base. Perianth abruptly narrowed near the base, especially in bud.