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Amaryllidaceae
Plants of the Amaryllis Family

Formerly included within the Lily family.

Amaryllis: Amaryllis belladona.

      If you have enjoyed a potted Amaryllis blooming in mid-winter, than you have met the Amaryllis family. Members of this family are typically perennial plants that resprout each year from underground bulbs. The leaves are usually somewhat juicy and tender, rather than fibrous.

      The flowers are often grouped in an umbel (like an umbrella), or sometimes solitary, and typially emerge from a spathe-like bract (a modified leaf wrapped around the flowerhead). Otherwise, individual flowers are typical lily-like blossoms with 3 sepals and 3 petals that are identical in size and color. The daffodil (Narcissus) has an extra inner whorl called the corona. Most species have 6 stamens. The ovary is positioned either inferior or superior and matures as a capsule with numerous seeds per chamber. The dried petals are often found clinging to the tip of the fruit.

      As currently defined, the Amaryllis family encompasses an estimated 60 genera and 850 species, only a handful of which are found in North America. The potted flowers we know as "amaryllis" were segregated from Amaryllis into a closely related new genus, Hippeastrum, but the old name reamains as the common name. Edibility varies significantly across the family. Onions (Allium) and their kin have sometimes been segregated into their own family, and may be yet again.

Key Words: Monocots with onion-like bulbs and juicy leaves. Flowerheads wrapped in a bract.

Please e-mail Thomas J. Elpel to report mistakes or to inquire about purchasing high resolution photos of these plants.


Allium sp. Wild Onions.

Allium sp. Wild Onions.

Allium sp. Wild Onions.

Allium sp. Wild Onions. Tobacco Root Mountains. Pony, Montana.

Allium schoenoprasum. Wild Onions or Wild Chives.

Allium schoenoprasum. Wild Onions or Wild Chives.

Allium schoenoprasum. Wild Onions or Wild Chives.

Allium schoenoprasum. Wild Onions or Wild Chives. This species grows high in the mountains.

Allium sp. Wild Onions.

Allium sp. Wild Onions.

Allium sp. Wild Onions.

Allium sp. Wild Onions.

Allium brevistylum. Shortstyle Wild Onion.

Allium brevistylum. Shortstyle Wild Onion.

Allium cernuum. Nodding Onion.

Allium cernuum. Nodding Onion.

Allium macrum. Rock Onion.

Allium macrum. Rock Onion. Native to Washington and Oregon.

Allium macrum. Rock Onion.

Allium macrum. Rock Onion. Photographed in eastern Washington.

There are more
Amaryllis Family pictures
at PlantSystematics.org.


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Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
Participating
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Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
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Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Botany
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