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Tricyrtis hirta is often confused with:
Tricyrtis formosana Tricyrtis-formosana
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Clematis flower, Johnston County, NC
Halesia carolina Full Form
Viola pedata Viola pedata

Japanese Toad Lily Tricyrtis hirta

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Compsoa hirta
  • Tricyrtis japonica
  • Tricyrtis masamunei
  • Uvularia hirta
Description

The Hairy Toad Lily or Japanese Toad Lily is a native of the Japanese Islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. In their native habitat, they are found on shady rock cliffs or stream banks. The Genus name, "Tricyrtis," is Greek. "Tri" translated means three. "Kyrtos" means humped, referring to the nectaries which are swollen and sac-like.  The species name, "hirta," means hairy which accounts for its common name, Hairy Toad Lily.  Over the last 20 years, new cultivars and hybrids have been developed in Japan and the United States. Currently, many Tricyrtis species can be found at local and specialty nurseries.

The Hairy Toad Lily propagates from seeds, stem cuttings, or divisions. It has slow forming, creeping rhizomes, and develops clumps of green foliage with a spread of 18-23 inches. The unique showy flowers are white to lavender with purple speckles and bloom summer to fall. 

They are very unique plants that are excellent as an accent or border plants so that they can be seen and appreciated up close. They are complementary to other shade-loving plants such as hostas, ferns, astilbe, and hellebores. They prefer slightly acid soil with high organic matter that is kept moist and not allowed to dry out. Plant in shade to partial shade.

Problems: Rabbits like to eat leaves and buds. The Tricyrtis floral virus, which is spread by aphids, causes the flower to become mottled and then turn completely purple. Anthracnose may cause small orange spots on the leaves. To prevent this fungal disease, it is recommended to keep the foliage dry and water only at the base of the plant. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
    White flowers
  • 'Albescens'
    White flowers
  • 'Albomarginata'
    Creamy white edged leaves with purple flowers
  • 'Golden Gleam'
    chartreuse golden leaves are spotted with large gray dots and have speckled dark purple and white flowers
  • 'Lightning Strike'-
    Golden foliage with green streaks and lavender flowers
  • 'Minazuki'
    hairless, golden leaves with thin green border streaks and flowers are pale lavender
  • 'Mine-no-yuki'
    Shorter, light pink flowers
  • 'Miyazaki'
    Shorter with purple and white spotted flowers
  • 'Miyazaki Gold'
    Green and creamy yellow leaves with purple flowers
  • 'Moonlight'
    chartreuse parchment colored leaves, every leaf axil has a white flower with purple specks and purple ring at the inside base of
  • 'Shining Light'
    chartreuse gold with dark green edged leaves and flowers at every leaf axil
  • 'White Tower'-
    White flowers
'Alba', 'Albescens', 'Albomarginata', 'Golden Gleam', 'Lightning Strike'-, 'Minazuki', 'Mine-no-yuki', 'Miyazaki', 'Miyazaki Gold', 'Moonlight', 'Shining Light', 'White Tower'-
Tags:
#cultivars#bees#hummingbirds#showy flowers#partial shade#purple flowers#shade garden#moist soil#lavender flowers#asian garden#border front#unusual flowers#butterfly friendly#nectar plant late summer
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alba'
    White flowers
  • 'Albescens'
    White flowers
  • 'Albomarginata'
    Creamy white edged leaves with purple flowers
  • 'Golden Gleam'
    chartreuse golden leaves are spotted with large gray dots and have speckled dark purple and white flowers
  • 'Lightning Strike'-
    Golden foliage with green streaks and lavender flowers
  • 'Minazuki'
    hairless, golden leaves with thin green border streaks and flowers are pale lavender
  • 'Mine-no-yuki'
    Shorter, light pink flowers
  • 'Miyazaki'
    Shorter with purple and white spotted flowers
  • 'Miyazaki Gold'
    Green and creamy yellow leaves with purple flowers
  • 'Moonlight'
    chartreuse parchment colored leaves, every leaf axil has a white flower with purple specks and purple ring at the inside base of
  • 'Shining Light'
    chartreuse gold with dark green edged leaves and flowers at every leaf axil
  • 'White Tower'-
    White flowers
'Alba', 'Albescens', 'Albomarginata', 'Golden Gleam', 'Lightning Strike'-, 'Minazuki', 'Mine-no-yuki', 'Miyazaki', 'Miyazaki Gold', 'Moonlight', 'Shining Light', 'White Tower'-
Tags:
#cultivars#bees#hummingbirds#showy flowers#partial shade#purple flowers#shade garden#moist soil#lavender flowers#asian garden#border front#unusual flowers#butterfly friendly#nectar plant late summer
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tricyrtis
    Species:
    hirta
    Family:
    Liliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & S. Japan
    Wildlife Value:
    The flower is pollinated by butterflies and bees. It provides nectar to hummingbirds. Small mammals feed on its new growth.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    heavy shade
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Clumping
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a cylinder-shaped seed capsule. When the capsule dries, it releases 2 or 3 seeds. The seeds measure 1/8 inch in size and appear papery and disc-shaped. They may self-seed and naturalize under ideal conditions. Germination requires about 1 to 3 months. They should be planted at the end of the fall or before the last frost in the spring.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Solitary
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flower is small, 1 inch long, star-shaped, and lily or orchid-like. It has six showy tepals (3 petals and 3 sepals). There are sac-like nectaries at the base of the outer tepals. The stamens and styles form a crown that extends beyond the petals and sepals. The color is white to pale lilac with heavy purple freckles. The flower may be solitary or may appear in small clusters (cymes) with 2-3 flowers per cluster. The flower appears on the upper leaf axil and faces upward. They bloom late summer and fall.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are alternate, hairy, light green and oval to oblong. They clasp at the base in a ladder-like arrangement and measure 3-6 inches long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The stem has fine transparent hairs. It is upright, arched, unbranched, and measures 23-36 inches in height.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Butterfly Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heavy Shade