A distinctive family of monocotyledons (see monocotyledon) with no close relatives, most of which are herbs and epiphytes, a few being terrestrial. Most have leaves crowded together with an amplexicaul (see stipule) base forming a tank from which water is absorbed. The inflorescence is terminal, sometimes with showy bracts. The flowers are regular and trimerous. The fruit is a berry or capsule. There are 46 genera, with about 2110 species, entirely confined to the New World, except for one in W. Africa, and mostly tropical.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.