Colchicaceae

  • B. Nordenstam
Chapter
Part of the The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants book series (FAMILIES GENERA, volume 3)

Abstract

Perennial herbs with an underground corm or rhizome; stems rarely lignescent (Kuntheria). Roots sometimes tuberous (Burchardia). Stem erect, leafy, simple or branching, sometimes scandent or scapose, or reduced to a short underground portion. Leaves distichous, cauline, alternate, or subopposite to verticillate or almost radical, sessile and often sheathing, or shortly pseudo-petiolate (Kuntheria, Disporum sp.); blades dorsiventral (bifacial), ovate or lanceolate to linear or subulate, sometimes cuspidate or cirrhose, parallel-veined with often distinct midrib, in broad leaves ± arching and rarely with additional reticulate venation. Flowers hypogynous, bisexual or seldom unisexual (Wurmbea spp.), sessile or pedicellate, actinomorphic or somewhat zygomorphic, in terminal racemes or cymes, sometimes umbellate, capitate or solitary, with or without bracts; tepals 6 (rarely 7–12), equal or somewhat unequal, connate for some length or free from the base, sometimes spotted or variegated, usually with perigonal or androecial nectaries, caducous or persistent. Stamens 6, dorsifixed (often hypopeltate), extrorse or sometimes latrorse to introrse, dehiscing by longitudinal slits, versatile or not; thecae 2, elongate. Gynoecium tricarpellary (occasionally 2 or 4 carpels), completely or partly syncarpous; ovary trilocular with few to many anatropous or campylotropous ovules on axile placentas; carpels ending in free or partly united styluli, or fused into a single style; fruit usually a dry or somewhat fleshy septicidal or loculicidal capsule (or both), rarely baccate (Disporum); seeds subglobose or ovoid to subangular, with or without a dry strophiole or fleshy aril; embryo linear, straight.

Keywords

Toxicity Starch Europe Peri Oxalate 

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

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  • B. Nordenstam

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