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a family of monocotyledonous plants. They are perennial grasses with rhizomes, bulbs, or corms. Less frequently they have woody stems and are arborescent; a few are lianas. The leaves are entire and often narrow. The flowers are usually bisexual, regular or slightly irregular in form, and pentacyclic; they are generally trimerous and often gathered in racemes, panicles, and other inflorescences. The perianths are generally brightly colored. The pistils are syncarpous. The ovary is usually superior; however, sometimes it is half-inferior or inferior. The fruit is a capsule or, sometimes, a berry.
Approximately 250 genera of Liliaceae, comprising 4,000 species, are distributed throughout the world. In the USSR there are 45 genera (approximately 650 species). Many species grow in the steppes, in semiarid regions, and on mountains. A number of subfamilies (particularly Asparagoideae, Allioideae, Smilacoideae, and, less frequently, Agavoideae) are separated into different families. The Liliaceae include many useful plants. The onion, garlic, and asparagus are important vegetables. Several plants, such as New Zealand flax and desert candle, are used in industry. Lily of the valley, aloe, sea onion, false hellebore, and autumn crocus are drug-yielding plants. The Liliaceae include numerous ornamentals, such as lily, tulip, hyacinth, fritillary, autumn crocus, yucca, dracena, and aloe. Wild representatives include false lily of the valley, lily of the valley, onion, Solomon’s seal, Gagea, squill, grape hyacinth, and star-of-Bethlehem.
REFERENCESTakhtadzhian, A. L. Sistema i filogeniia tsvetkovykh rastenii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.
M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV