Common name: Japanese Toad Lily, Hairy Toad Lily
Tricyrtis hirta is a shade-loving, herbaceous perennial in the Lily family (Liliaceae). It is native to Japan where it is known as 'hototogisu' (Little Cuckoo). The flower is thought to resemble the cuckoo's spotted chest.
T. hirta is best known for its unique orchid-like flowers and its ability to bloom in the shade. It blooms from late summer into mid-fall. Take a close look at the lance-like, mid-green leaves, and you'll notice that they clasp around the stem.
The genus name comes from the Greek word 'tri' meaning 'three' and 'krytos' meaning 'humped', referring to the three outer petals which are swollen and sack-like. The specific epithet means 'hairy'. All parts of the plant are covered in fine-textured hair. T. hirta can be propagated by root and stem cuttings or by division.
T. hirta can be found in several spots in the garden.
Text and photos by Kumi Sutcliffe.