Amaryllidaceae is a tropical to temperate perennial bulbous or rarely rhizomatous family. Leaves usually arise at ground level from the base of the stem or apex of the bulb. Often showy flowers arise in an umbel from an elongated leafless stem. The flowering stalk is ensheathed by bracts which may be showy. Flowers have 6 equal or similar tepals and usually 6 stamens and a 3 chambered ovary. The fruit is a capsule or sometimes a berry. Some species have winged papery seeds and others moist variously colored rounded angled seeds that cannot be stored but need to be planted shortly after they are ripe. There are a large number of genera in this family that are native to South Africa and to the Andes in South America.
Subfamily Agapanthoideae solely consists of the Genus Agapanthus. The ovaries of Agapanthus flowers are superior
Subfamily Allioideae consists of bulbous or rhizomatous perennials. The rootstock and leaves contain allylic sulfides responsible for the smell of garlic or onion when crushed or bruised. The rootstock is usually a bulb with membranous or fibrous outer tunics or sometimes a short rhizome. The straplike or tubular leaves are arranged spirally. Flowers are enclosed by large papery bracts in an umbel on a leafless stem. The ovary is three chambered and superior and flowers have six tepals and stamens. The fruit is a capsule with the seeds usually black, wedge-shaped or ovoid to subglobose. Plants in this family occur mostly in South America, with Allium in the Northern Hemisphere and Tulbaghia in Southern Africa. All the cormous genera that were once in this family from Mexico and Western North America have been moved to Themidaceae.
|Genera of Subfamily Allioideae on the PBS wiki|
Subfamily Amaryllidoideae contains the former core Amaryllidaceae. They differ from the other subfamilies by having an inferior ovary and containing characteristic alkaloides, which make all members of family poisonous.