The APG III system, of 2009 (unchanged from the APG systems, of 1998 and 2003), recognizes this family and places it in the order Liliales, in the clade monocots. It is a group of herbaceous perennials with rhizomes or corms.
The Dahlgren system and the Thorne system (1992) also recognized this family, and placed it in order Liliales in superorder Lilianae in subclass Liliidae (monocotyledons) of class Magnoliopsida (angiosperms).
The phylogenetic classification of Vinnersten & Manning circumscribes the family as follows:
The genus Petermannia F.Muell. is excluded from this family and placed in its own family Petermanniaceae, Liliales. The former controversy regarding the inclusion of Androcymbium in Colchicum has now been resolved in favor of the 2007 classification of Manning et al. who included Androcymbium in Colchicum. This is supported by molecular phylogenetic studies with dense species sampling (i.e. 41 species previously placed in Androcymbium and 96 species of Colchicum) that showed that the type species of Androcymbium, A. melanthioides (Colchicum melanthioides), is more closely related to species of Colchicum than it is to many species traditionally placed in Androcymbium.
Subsequently, Nguyen et al.(2013) proposed reclassifying the family on the basis of subfamilies: