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Melanthiaceae

See list of 5 genera in this family
  • 1a. Sepals and petals clearly different, the sepals green; leaves borne in a single whorl at the summit of the stem, pinnately veined [Fig. 159]; fruit a berry
  • 1b. Sepals and petals similar [Fig. 158], the sepals green or petaloid; leaves ± all basal or alternate, parallel veined; fruit a capsule
    • 2a. Ovary partly inferior; anthers mesifixed; seeds twisted and flattened at the ends, unwinged; plants arising from bulbs, lacking rhizomes
    • 2b. Ovary superior; anthers basifixed; seeds variously shaped but with marginal angles, wings, or with a wing-like aril; plants with rhizomes (bulbs sometimes also present)
      • 3a. Leaf blades narrow-linear, 20–70 ×0.5–3 cm; bulbs 30–80 mm long
      • 3b. Leaf blades narrow-oblanceolate or spatulate to elliptic or ovate, 5–55 ×1–20 cm; bulbs absent or present and 6–17 mm long
        • 4a. Tepals 2–4 mm long, white in staminate flowers, green-white in carpellate flowers (fading or drying yellow), lacking basal nectaries; inflorescence with an unbrached axis, ebracteate; capsule dehiscence loculicidal; plants dioecious
        • 4b. Tepals 5–12 mm long, green to yellow-green or green-white to light yellow, 
with 1 or 2 nectary glands at base; inflorescence branched, with bracts; capsule dehiscence septicidal; plants synoecious or polygamous

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 Show photos of:   Each photo represents one genus in this family.