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The family has only recently been recognized by taxonomists. The APG III system of 2009 (unchanged from the 1998 and 2003versions) does recognize this family. The family consists of probably over half-a-dozen genera totalling some one hundred to two hundred species.
The members of the family are small to medium herbs, with grass-like leaves and an invisible stem, modified into a corm or a rhizome. The flowers are born on leafless shoots, also called scapes. The flowers are trimerous, radially symmetric. The ovary is inferior, developing into a capsule or a berry.
^ abAngiosperm Phylogeny Group III (2009), "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III", Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2): 105–121, doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x
Herbaceous geophytes, with rhizomes (Curculigo) or corms (Hypoxis). Leaves basal, arranged one above another in 3 vertical rows; lamina linear to lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate to ovate, parallel-veined, ± pubescent. Inflorescence racemose, corymbose or with flowers solitary. Flowers bisexual, actinomorphic, 3-merous, epigynous. Perianth with 6 segments, yellowish on the adaxial side, greenish or purplish-streaked outside. Stamens 6; anthers opening by longitudinal slits. Ovary inferior, 3-locular. Fruit a berry (Curculigo) or a capsule (Hypoxis).
Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
Idárraga-Piedrahita, A., R. D. C. Ortiz, R. Callejas Posada & M. Merello. 2011. Flora de Antioquia. Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares, vol. 2. Listado de las Plantas Vasculares del Departamento de Antioquia. Pp. 1-939.
Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats Specimen Records:88 Specimens with Sequences:98 Specimens with Barcodes:96 Species:32 Species With Barcodes:32 Public Records:66 Public Species:29 Public BINs:0