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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Liliaceae

46. Crinum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 291. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 141. 1754.

String-lily, swamp-lily [Greek krinon, a lily]

Walter C. Holmes

Herbs, perennial, scapose, from bulbs with elongate columnar apices. Leaves basal, thick; blade lorate or ensiform, not narrowed near base. Scape solid. Inflorescences umbellate, few- to many-flowered, subtended by 2 large, lanceolate, scarious bracts. Flowers sessile or pedicellate; perianth connate proximally, red to white, often striped, streaked, or overlaid with red abaxially, funnelform to salverform to semicampanulate, tube straight to curved, ca. same length as limb lobes; stamens inserted on perianth tube throat; filaments thin, often declinate; ovary inferior, globose; style slender; stigma capitate. Fruits capsular, globose or subglobose, usually prominently beaked. Seeds fleshy, testa often corky.

Species ca. 100 (4 in the flora): tropical and warm regions worldwide, mostly in Africa.


Moldenke, H. N. 1962. Amaryllid genera and species. Pl. Life 18: 48–50. Wunderlin, R. P., B. F. Hansen, and D. W. Hall. 1985. The vascular flora of central Florida: Taxonomic and nomenclatural changes, additional taxa. Sida 11: 232–244.

1 Flowers sessile or nearly so.   (2)
+ Flowers distinctly pedicellate.   (3)
2 (1) Perianth white.   1 Crinum americanum
+ Perianth purplish red, particularly abaxially.   4 Crinum zeylanicum
3 (1) Perianth pink to red; leaves 3–5 cm wide; umbels 8–13-flowered.   3 Crinum bulbispermum
+ Perianth white; leaves 7.5–12 cm wide; umbels 20–100-flowered.   2 Crinum asiaticum

Lower Taxa


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