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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Liliaceae

39. Asphodelus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 309. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 146. 1754.

Asphodel [Greek asphodelos, flower of Hades and the dead]

Gerald B. Straley† & Frederick H. Utech

Herbs, annual or perennial [or biennial], scapose, from swollen rhizomes. Leaves numerous, basal; blade linear, cylindrical [or flat], base membranous, sheathing, margins entire. Scape hollow [or solid]. Inflorescences racemose or paniculate, many-flowered, bracteate; bracts persistent, narrowly lanceolate, scarious. Flowers: tepals 6, erect to spreading, distinct or barely connate basally, equal, each with single prominent vein; stamens 6, distinct, subequal [or equal], shorter than tepals; filaments expanded at base; anthers dorsifixed; ovary 3-locular, ovules 1 or 2 per locule; septal nectaries present; style 1; stigma weakly 3-lobed; pedicel articulate. Fruits capsular, globose, hard, dehiscence loculicidal. Seeds 3 or 6, black, angled [or winged]. x = 13, 14.

Species 12 (1 in the flora): introduced; sw Europe, n Africa, sw Asia (India); widely introduced elsewhere.

Sometimes placed in the segregate family Asphodelaceae, Asphodelus occurs mainly throughout the Mediterranean region, the Middle and Near East, and central Asia. Asphodelus ramosus Linnaeus has been collected once in the flora from ballast in New Jersey in 1879.


Spellenberg, R., R., et al. 1986. Additions to the flora of New Mexico. Sida 11: 455–470.

Lower Taxon


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