Herbs, perennial, from slender, nodose rhizomes with scarious scale leaves. Stems erect, simple, bracteate; bracts 2–5, much reduced, widely spaced, chaffy. Leaves basal, equitant, simple, sheathing; blade unifacial, striate, stiff; sheath margin scarious. Inflorescences terminal, erect, 1-flowered, bracteolate; bracteoles (2–)3(–4), in epicalyx, distinct, deltate-rhombic, small. Flowers: tepals persistent, 6, spreading, erect in fruit, distinct, oblanceolate, apex acute; stamens 6, hypogynous; filaments distinct; anthers basifixed, linear-lanceolate, with short appendages, introrse; gynoecium 3(–6)-carpellate, distally apocarpous; ovary superior, sessile, tuberculate; intercarpellary nectary present; styles 3(–6), slightly recurved; stigmas capitate. Fruits capsular, ellipsoid, prominently tuberculate, subtended by persistent tepals, dehiscence septicidal, then adaxially loculicidal. Seeds pale yellow, narrowly fusiform, straight or curved, short-appendaged at both ends. x = 15, 16.
Discovered in 1968, Harperocallis is the only genus endemic to the Apalachicola River region of Florida’s western panhandle, where numerous endemic species occur (D. B. Ward ). Carpel numbers often greater than 3, to 6, are frequently encountered (J. D. Ambrose 1975, 1980; L. C. Anderson and G. L. Smith 1994). The capsule is primarily septicidal, similar to those in Tofieldia, Triantha, and Pleea (J. D. Ambrose 1975, 1980; F. H. Utech 1993), and not simply loculicidal as originally described (S. McDaniel 1968; R. K. Godfrey ).
Utech, F. H. 1993. Floral vascular anatomy of Harperocallis flava McDaniel and its systematic relationship within the Tofieldieae (Liliaceae). [Abstract.] In: International Botanical Congress. 1993. Abstracts. XV International Botanical Congress. Congress Center of Pacifico Yokohama, Japan, August 28 to September 3, 1993. [Tokyo.] P. 207.