Rhizomatous perennials or rarely (one sp.) annuals, terrestrial or epiphytic. Roots fibrous or plants with storage roots. Stems erect, scrambling or twining, herbaceous or when perennial wiry, tough and supple, branching or simple. Indumentum where present of 1- to 4-celled unbranched hairs. Phyllotaxis spiral or distichous and alternate. Leaves evenly dispersed on an elongated stem or crowded at its upper end, or on short stems as a rosette near to the ground. Leaves simple, entire, sessile or shortly petiolate, without a scheathing base; parallel- or arched-veined, sometimes with few cross-veins or higher venation reticulate and a prominent midrib; thin or somewhat fleshy, generally twisted at the base and leaf blade becoming half or totally inverted (resupinate) (except Bomarea subgen. Wichurea, some Alstroemeria and Schickendantzia spp.), in the flowering stems of Alstroemeria often reduced to sessile bracts. Inflorescence either terminal and then 2- to manyflowered, lax or dense, bracteate, umbel-like, simple or branched, or axillary and then a monobrachial cincinnus, or flowers solitary. Bracts, when several, leaflike or reduced, forming a pseudowhorl at the base of the inflorescence. Flowers bisexual, actinomorphic or zygomorphic, epigynous or hypogynous. Hypogynous flowers small, articulated on the pedicels (Luzuriaga) or at the base of the ovary (Drymophila). Perianth often caducous. Tepals 3 + 3 (or rarely 4 in Drymophila), petaloid, free, the 2 whorls similar or conspicuously different, the inner ones often basally arrowed into a canaliculate claw, nectariferous. Stamens 3 + 3, free, anthers basifixed or nearly so, dithecal, tetrasporangiate, latrorse, introrse or extrorse, opening by longitudinal slits or apical pores. Ovary often turbinate, of 3 (or 4) united carpels, 1- or 3- (or 4-) locular; style capitate or with 3 stigmatic branches. Ovules usually many, in 2 rows on axile, parietal or subparietal placentas, anatropous or hemianatropous. Fruit a usually dehiscent, dry, leathery, or somewhat fleshy capsule, loculicidal, 3-valved, in Alstroemeria mostly explosive, or fruit a berry or berrylike and indehiscent. Seeds few to numerous, ovoid or ± globose, brown or pale brown/yellow, with or without a red sarcotesta.
The members of Alstroemeriaceae sensu Kubitzki are adapted to very diverse habitats such as swamps, desert areas, shady woodland, and tropical forests, and can be found from coastal regions up to high elevations of the Andes. Some species are frost-tolerant.
The taxa of Luzuriagaceae sensu Kubitzki grow in moist, shady temperate forests, and several Luzuriaga spp. grow on
moss-covered rocks and tree trunks (Arroyo and Leuenberger 1988b; Rodriguez and Marticorena 1988), although on the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands, 1. marginata grows in Empetrum heaths (Moore 1968). Drymophila moorei behaves as a cool-temperate understorey perennial with marked seasonality in growth and flowering responses (Conran 1988b).
The family is of great horticultural interest. Several species of Alstroemeria and some of Bomarea are cultivated for their ornamental value as pot plants, in greenhouses, or in mild climate outdoors. Hybrids of some Alstroemeria species are commercially grown as cut flowers. The starchy storage roots of several species of Alstroemeria and Bomarea are edible. In Chile the flour extracted out of Alstroemeria ligtu is called el chuño (Puga Borne 1921).
Luzuriaga radicans Quilineja is used in Chile as a source of fibre for rope (Ravenna 1969; Rodriguez and Marticorena 1988). Several species are cultivated as ornamentals. Vallentin and Cotton 1921 list the fruits of L. marginata (cotton flower) in the Falkland Islands as poisonous.
This article is derived from the accounts of Alstroemeriaceae and Luzuriagaceae published in Kubitzki volume 3. With kind permission from Springer Science+Business Media: This work is subject to copyright. All rights reserved, whether whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, broadcasting reproduction on microfilm or in any other way, and storage in data banks. Duplication of this publication or parts thereof is permitted only under the provisions of the German Copyright Law of September 9, 1965, in its current version, and permission for use must always be obtained from Springer-Verlag. Violations are liable for prosecution under German Copyright Law.All Rights Reserved