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Perennial stemless herbs. Leaves basal, usually rosulate, linear to lanceolate, often with a fimbriate margin, expanding towards the base to form a sheath. Inflorescence a raceme or a panicle. Ovary superior, sessile or shortly stipitate, globose or obovoid, 3-lobed, 3-celled; Capsule dehiscing loculicidally; Seeds flat, suborbicular.


Asia present, Asia-Tropical: India present, Australasia, Madagascar present, West Malesia present, mainly southern present, tropical present
Especially in Africa (mainly southern and tropical), Madagascar and Asia (especially India) to Australia (2 spp.); in West Malesia two non-endemic species.
The total number of species is estimated by Krause (1930) at c. 100 and by Obermeyer (1962) at nearly 300.


Obermeyer (1962) recorded that in species with fascicled flowers plants do occasionally occur in which the flowers are borne spirally on a distinct but very short lateral branch of the inflorescence. This supports the theory that fascicled flowers and their associated bracts represent an abbreviated lateral shoot.
She also discussed the difficulty encountered in separating Chlorophytum from Anthericum L. (1753). She was only able to find a single character on which these genera could always be separated: the seeds of Chlorophytum are flat, but of Anthericum angular and smaller. Several other characters were found to be generally, but not universally, of value in separating them.


Hutch. 1959 – In: Fam. Fl. Pl., ed. 2: 598
Obermeyer 1962 – In: Bothalia: 690
Back. & Bakh.f. 1968 – In: Fl. Java: 86
Charoenphol 1973 – In: Thai For. Bull.: 67
Marais & Reilly 1978 – In: Kew Bull.: 653
Ker-Gawl. 1943 – In: Poelln. Ber. Deut. Bot. Ges.: 126
Baker 1876 – In: J. Linn. Soc. Bot.: 321
Krause 1930 – In: E. & P., Nat. Pfl. Fam., ed. 2, 15a: 284
Dress 1961 – In: Baileya: 29
Panigrahi 1975 – In: Kew Bull.: 563