This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Low, mostly villous herbs with a corm or short rootstock, grass-like leaves and slender few-flowered scapes, the flowers rather small. Perianth 6-parted, its segments equal or nearly so, separate to the summit of the ovary, spreading, withering-persistent, the 3 outer ones greenish on the lower side in our species. Stamens inserted on the bases of the perianth-segments; filaments short; anthers erect, sagittate or entire. Ovary 3-celled; style short; stigmas 3, erect; ovules numerous, in 2 rows in each cavity. Capsule subglobose or oblong, thin-walled, not dehiscent by valves. Seeds globular, black, laterally short-beaked by their stalks. [Greek, originally given to some plant with sour leaves.]
About 50 species, widely distributed. Besides the following, 3 others occur in the southern states. Type species: Hypoxis erectum L.
Corm ovoid, oblong or globose, 1/4-1/2 in diameter, with numerous fibrous roots. Leaves basal, narrowly linear, l"-2 1/2" wide, more or less villous, mostly longer than the scapes; scapes slender, erect, villous above, usually glabrous below, 2'-6' high; flowers 1-6, umbellate; bracts subulate, shorter than the pedicels; perianth-segments narrowly oblong, spreading, mostly obtuse, bright yellow within, greenish and villous without, 2,"-$" long; stamens somewhat unequal; style rather shorter than the stamens, 3-angled, the stigmas decurrent on the angles; capsule about 1 1/2" in diameter; seeds angled, black.
In dry soil, Maine to Ontario, Assiniboia, Kansas, Florida and Texas. Ascends to 3000 ft. in Virginia. Star-of-Beth-lehem. Mav-Oct.