Definitions

Asparagaceae

Asparagaceae

Asparagaceae is the botanical name of a family of flowering plants. Such a family has been recognized by quite a few taxonomists, but hardly universally: often the plants involved are treated as belonging to the family Liliaceae.

The APG II system, of 2003 also recognizes this family and places it in the order Asparagales, in the clade monocots. APG II allows two options as to circumscription of the family:

  • Asparagaceae sensu lato ("in the wider sense"), that is including all the plants listed in the second option.
  • Asparagaceae sensu stricto ("in the strict sense"), consisting of very few genera (notably Asparagus), but nevertheless totalling a few hundred species. This circumscription assumes that the following are recognized as separate:

* family Agavaceae
* family Aphyllanthaceae
* family Hesperocallidaceae
* family Hyacinthaceae
* family Laxmanniaceae
* family Ruscaceae
* family Themidaceae
These families were also recognized in the APG system, of 1998, except families Hesperocallidaceae and Ruscaceae which are 'new'. Relatively few publications have adopted the APG II's broader circumscription of Asparagaceae, with most adopting the narrower circumscription and recognizing the segregate families.

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