This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", 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..
Herbs, generally fleshy or succulent, rarely somewhat woody, with alternate or opposite leaves, and regular perfect but unsymmetrical flowers. Sepals commonly 2 (rarely 5). Petals 4 or 5, rarely more, hypogynous, entire or emarginate, imbricated. Stamens hypogynous, equal in number to the petals or fewer, rarely more; filaments filiform; anthers 2-celled, longitudinally dehiscent. Ovary 1-celled; style 2-3-cleft or 2-3-divided, the divisions stigmatic on the inner side; ovules 2-00, amphitropous. Capsule membranous or crustaceous, circumscissile, or dehiscent by 3 valves. Seeds 2-00, reniform-globose or compressed; embryo curved.
About 180 species, mostly natives of America.
Calyx free from the ovary; capsule 3-valved.
Seeds numerous; stamens 5-00.
Seeds not more than 6; stamens 2-5.
Perennials; petals distinct.
Plants with corms or thick rootstocks.
Plants with bulblet-bearing runners.
Mostly annuals; roots fibrous; petals united at the base or distinct.
Petals 3, united at base, unequal, the corolla-tube slit down one side; stamens 3.
Petals 5, equal, distinct or very nearly so; stamens 5.
Calyx partly adnate to the ovary; capsule circumscissile.