Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Tricyrtis Formosana

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch
Tricyrtis formosana flower (17/09/2011, London)

Tricyrtis formosana flower (17/09/2011, London)

Position: Dappled shade to full shade

Flowering period: Late summer to early autumn

Soil: Rich moist soils

Eventual Height: 1 m

Eventual Spread: 0.5 m

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6a-9b

Family: Liliaceae

Tricyrtis formosana is a deciduous herbaceous rhizomatous perennial with a clump forming and upright habit. The foliage is a blue green colour and is smoothly textured.  The leaves borne on arching erect stems are alternate, sometimes two ranked leaves, are lance shaped, with hairy undersides and parallel veins. The flower of the plant appear in the form of branched clusters which are star shaped and appear on the stem ends and lower leaf axils. They are about 2.5 cm in width and coloured white with purple spots and resemble the flowers of a Lily . This plant spreads by means of underground rhizomes.

T. formosana, commonly known as the Toad Lily or Taiwanese Toad Lily, is native to the Himalayas as to eastern Asia, including China, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan. This plant is synonymous with Tricyrtis stolonifera. The genus Trictyris was discovered in Japan around 1784 and introduced into European Gardens in the 1820′s. The first European to document the plant was Carl Peter Thunberg, a swedish surgeon and naturalist. They are found in moist woodlands and have been seen at high elevations in Asia to the Philippines.

The name Trictyris is derived from the Greek tries meaning ‘three’ and kyrtos meaning ‘convex’, referring  to the three out sepals having swollen bases. The name formosana is derived from the Latin meaning ‘from Taiwan’.

Tricyrtis formosana (17/09/2011, London)

Tricyrtis formosana (17/09/2011, London)

The landscape architect may find this plant useful as an under storey plant, particularly in woodland schemes. It is particularly useful in shady locations.

Ecologically this plant is attractive to slugs and snails.

This plant prefers soil which is well drained and moist, preferable humus rich. It will tolerate all pH of soils, but prefers a mildly acidic soil.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993

Maintenance: This plant requires little maintenance. Large clumps of this plant may be divided in spring while the plant is still dormant.

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