Welcome to the Colchicaceae Scratchpad

The Colchicaceae is a family of monocotyledons in the order Liliales. It was first described by De Candolle (1805) containing the following six genera: Colchicum, Bulbocodium, Merendera, Erythronium, Tofieldia and Veratrum. However, over the years it continued to be inserted within a widely circumscribed Liliaceae by several authors.

Molecular analyses have continued to refine the classification of Colchicaceae, with close relationships between the Colchicaceae and several genera within the Uvulariaceae being identified (Chase et al., 1993, 1995; Rudall et al., 1997). These genera, namely Burchardia, Disporum, Tripladenia and Uvularia, were therefore incorporated within a distended circumscription of Colchicaceae which included 19 genera and roughly 225 species (Nordenstam, 1998). The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (Govaerts, 2013) suggests approximately 281 species in 16 genera.

The following combination of morphological characters differentiate the Colchicaceae from other petaloid monocot families: presence of corms or rhizomes, leaves basal or cauline and bifacial, 6 tepals, 6 stamens, a superior ovary, stigma often divided into 3 free styluli. They are herbaceous plants with a temperate to tropical distribution, except for South America.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith