Alliaceae

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Alliaceae is the botanical name of a monocot family of flowering plants in the order Asparagales, more recently reduced to the subfamily Allioideae of the family Amaryllidaceae.[1] The family and subfamily names are derived from the generic name of the type genus, Allium.

The family has been widely but not universally recognized. In the past, the plants involved were often treated as belonging to the family Liliaceae, and still are, in some long-running floristic projects in which obsolete taxonomic systems are still used.[citation needed] More recently, the family has been reduced to a subfamily of the Amaryllidaceae.

Successive revisions of the influential Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG) classification have changed the circumscription of the family. In the 1998 version, Alliaceae were a distinct family; in the 2003 version, combining the Alliaceae with the Agapanthaceae and the Amaryllidaceae sensu stricto was recommended but optional; in the 2009 version, only the broad circumscription of the Amaryllidaceae is allowed, with the Alliaceae reduced to a subfamily, Allioideae.[1]

Note that quite a few of the plants that were once included in family Alliaceae have been assigned to the family Themidaceae in all of the classifications by the APG.

Some of the species of Allium are important food plants for example onions (Allium cepa), chives (A. schoenoprasum), garlic (A. sativum and A. scordoprasum), and leeks (A. porrum).[2] Species of Allium, Gilliesia, Ipheion, Leucocoryne, Nothoscordum, and Tulbaghia are cultivated as ornamentals.[3]

Thirteen of the 16 genera are endemic to temperate South America.[4] Nothoscordum ranges from Argentina to Canada. Milula is native to the Himalayas and Tibet. Allium is indigenous to most of North America, Eurasia, and North Africa.[4]

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