Alliaceae

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

Abstract

Acaulescent or short-stemmed biennial or perennial geophytes; alliaceous odour often present; stem usually swollen and often forming a bulb, tuberous rhizome or rarely a corm, enveloped by sheathing, dry leaves or leaf bases. Leaves linear, filiform, lanceolate or rarely ovate, flat, angular, terete, or fistular, often fleshy, forming closed sheaths below, and sometimes forming a pseudostem around the scape; veins parallel. Scape from apex of each shoot or bulb, sometimes also lateral, terete, flat or angular, sometimes fistular, leafless except at apex. Inflorescence usually umbel-like, formed of 1 or more contracted helicoid cymes, rarely reduced to a single flower, in one species a spike (Milula). Inflorescence subtended by 2 or less frequently 1 or several, membranous, sometimes ± united spathe bracts, enveloping the young inflorescence, its branches or individual pedicels sometimes also subtended by smaller membranous bracts. Pedicels not articulate. Flowers hermaphrodite, usually actinomorphic, zygomorphic in Solaria,Miersia, and Gilliesia. Tepals 3+3 (rarely 3 or 3+2), usually similar and petaloid, united at base, almost free, or forming a tube; tepal lobes erect, spreading or re-curved. Scales or appendices between tepals and stamens, of different origin, often forming a corona. Functional stamens usually 3+3, rarely 3 or 2 and then the missing ones often transformed to staminodes. Filaments inserted on the tepals, free from each other or united, often with lateral, dorsal or apical appendices. Anthers versatile, basifixed, introrse, opening with longitudinal slits. Ovary superior or in Allium siculum and A. tripedale almost semiinferior; tricarpellary, trilocular; provided with septal nectaries; 2-several ovules in each locule. Ovules anatropous or campylotropous, bitegmic. Style solitary, erect, at apex of ovary or in Allium and Milula ± gynobasic. Stigma capitate or trilobate with a Dry or sometimes Wet (Leucocoryne) surface. Fruit a loculicidal capsule with few-numerous seeds. Seeds either rather small, ovoid or ellipsolidal to subglobose (rounded in transection), or larger, angular, semiovoid to semiglobose (triangular in transection), or in Tulbaghia flat. Testa with a crust of phytomelan. Endosperm with fatty oils and aleuron, but no starch. Embryo short and straight, or long and curved. Vegetative buds produced instead of flowers in some species of Allium.

Keywords

Starch Alkaloid Miocene Glycoside Quercetin 

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Rahn

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