Native to moist shady sites in central and southern Japan, this herbaceous perennial is a member of the the lily family, Liliaceae, that also includes tulips, dog tooth violet, and fritillaria. The plants grow 2-3′ tall and slowly forms clumps of arching, unbranched stems with oval to oblong, light green leaves that are 3-6″ long, arranged in a ladder-like pattern on the stem, and have clasping bases. From late summer into fall, single or clusters of 2-3 small orchid like flower appear in the upper leaf axils. Each flower is 1″ long and has 6 whitish to purple tepals with purple spots. Toad lily is a good choice for a shade or woodland garden placed so that the very unique flowers can be appreciated up close. The genus name, Tricyrtis, comes from Greek tri- meaning 3, and kyrtos, meaning humped, and refers to the nectaies which are swollen and sac-like. The specific epithet, hirta, is the Latin word meaning hairy, and refers to the fact that all parts of the plant are hairy, and gives rise to the common name, hairy toad lily.

Type: Herbaceous perennial 

Bloom: Six whitish to pale purple tetals with dark purple spots, from late summer into fall

Size: 2-3′ H x 1.5-2′ W

Light: Part to full shade

Soil: Average, humusy, medium to wet, well-drained, slightly acidic

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Care: Cut back after flowering

Pests and Diseases: Generally healthy but Anthracnose, Tricyrtis floral virus, slugs and snails can cause damage.

Propagation: Division, stem cuttings, seed

Companion Plants: Painted lady fern, hosta, hakone grass, monkshood

Outstanding Selections: Miyazaki Hybrids

Photo Credit: Alofok Wikipedia

By Karen