Male (left) and female plants of Wurmbea dioica, copyright Murray Fagg.

Belongs within: Liliales.

The Colchicaceae are a family of perennial herbs growing from corms or rhizomes. Many species are cultivated as ornametals, such as the flame lily Gloriosa superba and various species of autumn crocus Colchicum.

Characters (from here): Colchicine alkaloid present, flavones present, steroidal saponins absent; raphides absent; cuticular wax with parallel platelets; leaves conduplicate, blade with midrib (occasionally absent), base sheathing; inflorescence various, flowers axillary; tepals towards base U-shaped and folded around each stamen in bud, connate or not, sexine thick; styluli present, or style more or less branched, or stigma with recurved lobes, wet or dry; ovules 2–many/carpel, more or less ascending, orientation various, micropyle bistomal; antipodal cells multinucleate; capsule septicidal; seeds rounded, strophiole, sarcotesta or aril present; phlobaphene present; embryo small; chromosomes 1–16 µm long; cotyledon photosynthetic or not, bifacial (occasionally ligulate).

<==Colchicaceae [Burchardieae]
    |--Burchardia Schreb. 1789DS04, KC01 [=Reya Kuntze 1891 (nom. rej.)CC87]
    |    |--*B. umbellata Br. 1810 (see below for synonymy)CC87
    |    |--B. bairdiae Keighery 1987CC87
    |    |--B. monantha Domin 1912CC87
    |    |--B. multiflora Lindley 1840 (see below for synonymy)CC87
    |    `--B. rosea Keighery 1987 [incl. B. umbellata var. composita Domin 1912]CC87
    `--+--Schelhammera Br. 1810DS04, CC87 [incl. Kreysigia Reichb. 1830CC87, Parduyna Salisb. 1866CC87]
       |    |--*S. undulata Br. 1810 [=Parduyna undulata (Br.) Dandy 1932]CC87
       |    `--S. multiflora Br. 1810CC87 (see below for synonymy)
       `--Wurmbea Thunb. 1781DS04, CC87 (see below for synonymy)
            |--*W. capensis Thunb. 1781CC87
            |--W. biglandulosa (Br.) Macfarlane 1980 (see below for synonymy)CC87
            |--W. centralis Macfarlane 1980CC87
            |--W. cernua Macfarlane 1980CC87
            |--W. densiflora (Benth.) Macfarlane 1980 [=Anguillaria densiflora Benth. 1878]CC87
            |--W. deserticola Macfarlane 1980CC87
            |--W. dilatata Macfarlane 1980CC87
            |--W. dioica (Br.) Muell. 1877CC87 (see below for synonymy)
            |    |--W. d. ssp. dioicaCC87
            |    `--W. d. ssp. alba Macfarlane 1980 [incl. W. humilis Macfarlane 1980]CC87
            |--W. drummondii Bentham 1878B78
            |--W. graniticola Macfarlane 1986CC87
            |--W. inframediana Macfarlane 1980CC87
            |--W. latifolia Macfarlane 1980 [incl. Anguillaria dioica var. multiflora Hook. 1858]CC87
            |--W. longifloraB78
            |--W. monantha (Endl.) Macfarlane 1980 [=Anguillaria monantha Endl. in Lehmann 1846]CC87
            |--W. murchisoniana Macfarlane 1986CC87
            |--W. odorata Macfarlane 1980CC87
            |--W. pygmaea (Endl.) Benth. 1878 [=Anguillaria pygmaea Endl. in Lehmann 1846]CC87
            |--W. sinora Macfarlane 1980CC87
            |--W. tenella (Endl.) Benth. 1878 [=Anguillaria tenella Endl. in Lehmann 1846]B78
            |--W. tubulosa Bentham 1878B78
            `--W. uniflora (Br.) Macfarlane 1980 [=Anguillaria uniflora Br. 1810]CC87
Colchicaceae incertae sedis:
  Ornithoglossum calcicolaP01, CV06
  Gloriosa L. 1753P01, CC87
    `--*G. superba L. 1753CC87
    |--C. autumnale Linnaeus 1753HE80
    |--C. baytopiorumP01
    |--C. boissieriP01
    |--C. eichleriP01
    |--C. hierosolymitanumP01
    |--C. leptanthum Persson 2001P01
    |--C. minutumP01
    |--C. munzurense Persson 1999P01
    |--C. psaridisP01
    |--C. rausiiP01
    |--C. serpentinum [incl. C. tauri]P01
    |--C. sieheanumP01
    |--C. soboliferumP01
    |--C. szovitsiiP01
    `--C. trigynumP01
    |--A. capenseERV99
    |--A. ciliolatumERV99
    |--A. cuspidatumERV99
    |--A. dregeiERV99
    |--A. eucomoidesERV99
    |--A. exiguumCV06
    |--A. irroratumERV99
    |--A. melanthioidesERV99
    `--A. pulchrumERV99

Burchardia multiflora Lindley 1840 [=B. umbellata var. multiflora (Lindley) Domin 1912, B. umbellata var. strictiflora Domin 1912 (nom. illeg.); incl. B. umbellata var. ornithogaloides Domin 1912]CC87

*Burchardia umbellata Br. 1810 [=Reya umbellata (Br.) Kuntze 1891, Burch. umbellata var. typica Domin 1912 (nom. illeg.); incl. Burch. congesta Lindley 1840, Burch. umbellata f. minor Domin 1912, Burch. umbellata var. parviflora Hook. 1858, Burckhardia rigida Gand. 1919]CC87

Schelhammera multiflora Br. 1810 [=*Kreysigia multiflora (Br.) Reichb. 1830, *Parduyna multiflora (Br.) Salisb. ex Dandy 1932]CC87

Wurmbea Thunb. 1781DS04, CC87 [incl. Anguillaria Br. 1810 (nom. cons.)CC87, A. 2. Glossocodon Endl. in Lehmann 1846CC87, A. sect. Glossocodon (Endl.) Pfeiffer 1872CC87; Anguillarieae]

Wurmbea biglandulosa (Br.) Macfarlane 1980 [=Anguillaria biglandulosa Br. 1810, Melanthium brownii Schldl. 1826 (nom. illeg.)]CC87

Wurmbea dioica (Br.) Muell. 1877CC87 [=*Anguillaria dioica Br. 1810CC87, A. australis Muell. 1870 (nom. illeg.)CC87; incl. Pleea sieberiB78]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B78] Bentham, G. 1878. Flora Australiensis: A description of the plants of the Australian Territory vol. 7. Roxburghiaceae to Filices. L. Reeve & Co.: London.

[CC87] Clifford, H. T., J. G. Conran, J. B. Williams, R. J. F. Henderson, H. J. Hewson, E. M. Watson, G. J. Keighery, D. M. Churchill, I. R. H. Telford, A. Thongpukdee, N. H. Brittan, A. S. George, W. T. Stearn & T. D. Macfarlane. 1987. Liliaceae. Flora of Australia 45: 148–419.

[CV06] Craven, P., & P. Vorster. 2006. Patterns of plant diversity and endemism in Namibia. Bothalia 36 (2): 175–189.

[DS04] Davis, J. I., D. W. Stevenson, G. Petersen, O. Seberg, L. M. Campbell, J. V. Freudenstein, D. H. Goldman, C. R. Hardy, F. A. Michelangeli, M. P. Simmons, C. D. Specht, F. Vergara-Silva & M. Gandolfo. 2004. A phylogeny of the monocots, as inferred from rbcL and atpA sequence variation, and a comparison of methods for calculating jackknife and bootstrap values. Systematic Botany 29 (3): 467–510.

[ERV99] Esler, K. J., P. W. Rundel & P. Vorster. 1999. Biogeography of prostrate-leaved geophytes in semi-arid South Africa: hypotheses on functionality. Plant Ecology 142 (1–2): 105–120.

[HE80] Healy, A. J., & E. Edgar. 1980. Flora of New Zealand vol. 3. Adventive cyperaceous, petalous and spathaceous monocotyledons. P. D. Hasselberg, Government Printer: Wellington (New Zealand).

[KC01] Kirk, P. M., P. F. Cannon, J. C. David & J. A. Stalpers. 2001. Ainsworth & Bisby’s Dictionary of the Fungi 9th ed. CAB International: Wallingford (UK).

[P01] Persson, K. 2001. A new soboliferous species of Colchicum in Turkey. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 135 (1): 85–88.

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