Most of the discussions on indiantreepix and wildflowerindia are about description of plants and its identification by members who may or may not be conventional botanist.
For identification of a plant basic scheme of classification must be known.
All seed producing plants are divided into
Gymnosperms(naked seeds)and Angiosperms(Seeds covered in fruit).
Angiosperms or the flowering plants is the major group with its members visible to most of us daily such as garden plants and vegetables and fruits which we eat.
Angiosperms or flowering plants are further divided into two groups
Monocotyledons and Dicotyledons.
This week's family is from Monocots.
Vegetative characters:Perennial, bulbous, tuberous or rhizomatous herbs of usually xerophytic habit.Leaves are usually linear and in basal rosettes.
Flowers are born at the top of the scape which is usually naked.They are solitary or in two to many flowered umbels, Subtended by an involucre of two or more bracts.Flowers are often large showy, bisexual, actinomorphic or sometimes zygomorphic, trimerous and epigynous.The perianth is of six tepals in two trimerous whorls.Tepals are free or united into a tube as in Narcissus.
Six stamens in two alternate whorls of three each.Filaments are free or form a staminal cup in Eucharis,Hymenocallis and pancratium.
Gynoecium is tricarpellary and syncarpous.Ovary is inferior and trilocular.
Fruit is a capsule dehiscing loculicidally or irregularly or rarely it is a fleshy berry.
Pollination and dispersal:Flowers are showy bright and often fragrant.The nectar secreted by the septal nectaries collects at the bottom of the flowers.Thus they are adapted for insect pollination.The white and sweet scented flowers of Crinum arepollinated by butterflies and honeysucking birds.
Narcissus is chiefly pollinated by nocturnal lepidoptera.
The seeds of some spcies of Crinum have a thin corky covering and are suited for distribution by water.
The family provides a large number of beautiful ornamental plants.
The notable are:
Euchalis grandiflora(Amazon Lily)
Hymenocalis americana(Spider Lily)
Agave:often grown for fencing and yields valuable fibre for ropes carpets etc.