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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Liliaceae

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Liliales

Sixteen genera and 635 species (mainly north temperate regions). Liliaceae used to include a broad range of genera but it has been split into a large number of different families and what remains in the Liliaceae does not include any species native to southern Africa. However one genus and species is naturalised and at least three genera and 11 species are cultivated in the region.

Genera naturalised in southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI).

Lilium (lilies)

One species is naturalised - Lilium formosanum (St Joseph’s lily, Trumpet lily, Formosa lily, Sintjosefslelie, Trompetlelie), which is a declared Category 3 invasive plant in South Africa. An additional seven species and at least one hybrid cultivated.

Genera cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002). Species names are provided in genera with only one species cultivated in souithern Africa.

Erythronium tuolumnense

Native to California.


Gagea fistulosa

Indigenous from southern Europe to Iran.



Two species cultivated - Tricyrtis formosana and Tricyrtis hirta (Japanese toad lily).


Tulipa (tulips)

Not included in Glen (2002) but surely tulips have been cultivated in southern Africa?



  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.