Common name: Toad Lily

Family: Liliaceae, Lily

Height x width: 1-3’ tall x 1-2’ wide

Growth habit: upright, open, arching stems; clumping to spreading depending on species

Growth rate: slow

Foliage: alternate, sometimes 2-ranked; 4-6" long, 1-2" wide; ovate to lanceolate; often clasping stems; stems often hairy; glossy, light green sometimes spotted darker

Flowers: very unique-- star or bell-shaped, tips opening outwards; 6 flower (perianth) segments (tepals--petals and sepals look alike), with outer 3 with basal bulges (nectaries); terminal, or more often in leaf axils; the 6 stamens and 3 styles form a prominent crown extending beyond the perianth; generally lilac with dark purple spots, or white or yellow in some species; generally fall

Hardiness: zones 4-9, varies with species

Soil: moist, high organic matter best

Light: shade, tolerates sun in cool climates where moist

Pests and Problems: slugs and snails occasionally on young growth

Landscape habit, uses: woodland or shade garden, near edges where unique but not showy flowers can be seen closely

Other interest: native to Far East; common name either from spotted flowers resembling toads, or to use in Phillipines by native tribes to run on hands as a frog attractant before collecting frogs; genus name from Greek words for three and convex, referring to shape of 3 outer tepals;

Other culture: grows taller in moist soils, shorter in drier

Propagation: spring division; seed stratified in cold and moist for 3 months unless sown fresh; may not come true from self-collected seed as species cross


Cultivars, other: those marked * are more commonly seen; those listed as hybrid are of two or more species with parentage often unknown, many from Japan; even those listed as cultivars may be hybrids among species
Cultivar species flowers other  
‘Alba’ formosana white, red spots    
*’Alba’ hirta greenish white, pink stamens    
*’Amethystina’ formosana purplish, white throat, red spots early  
‘Dark Beauty’ formosana dark lavender purple    
‘Golden Gleam’ hybrid dark purple lvs lime to gold  
‘Hatatogisa’ hybrid pale blue, purple dots 18"  
‘Jasmin’ hybrid white, purple spots, axillary    
‘Kohaku’ hybrid white, spotted, yellowish throat 3’, arching  
‘Lemon Lime’ hybrid lilac lvs yellows, bands  
‘Lilac Towers’ hirta white, lilac spots    
*’Miyazaki’ hirta pink to white, red spots, axillary    
‘Miyazaki Gold’ hirta like above lvs gold edged  
‘Seiryu’ hybrid like ‘Amethystina’ vigorous  
‘Shirohototgisu’ hybrid white 2-3’  
‘Sinonome’ hybrid white, purple spots stoloniferous  
subsp. macranthopsis macrantha yellow, axillary 1-2’  
‘Togon’ hybrid lavender, terminal 2-3’, large leaves  
‘Tojen’ hybrid lavender, white throats    
‘Variegata’ formosana lavender, terminal lvs yellow margin  
‘Variegata’ hirta lavender lvs gold edged  
var. albescens hirta white    
*var. stolonifera formosana pale pink, pale spots 42" tall  
‘White Flame’ hybrid lavender, spotted lvs variegated  
‘White Towers’ hirta pure white, axillary 3’, vigorous  

(photos courtesy Missouri botanical gardens plantfinder)

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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