Tricyrtis macropoda
Common Name: toad lily 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Liliaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: White with heavy purple spotting
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Tolerate: Heavy Shade


Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, organically rich, humusy, slightly acidic soils in part shade. Soil must not be allowed to dry out. This is a rhizomatous plant that will colonize in the garden over time in a non-invasive manner.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Tricyrtis macropoda, commonly called toad lily, is native to forests, grassy slopes and rock crevices in southern China. It typically grows to 24-30" tall. Shiny, ovate-elliptic to oblong-lanceolate, dark green leaves (to 4-6” long) are sessile or have short petioles. Leaves generally remain attractive throughout the growing season. Small, lily-like, white to pale lavender flowers (1” long) with heavy purple spotting bloom in branched terminal clusters (cymes) primarily at the stem ends in late summer to early fall. Each flower features six showy tepals (similar appearing sepals and petals). Common name of toad lily is in reference to the spotting on each flower. Toad lilies are valued garden plants because of their unique flowers, their ability to flower in shade and their late summer to fall bloom time.

Genus name comes from the Greek words tri- meaning three and kyrtos meaning humped as the bases of the three outer petals are swollen and sacklike.

Specific epithet means stout-stalked.


No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs and snails are occasional visitors that can damage the foliage.


Borders, woodland gardens, shade gardens or naturalized areas. Performs well in sun-dappled shade. Best sited in areas where they can be observed at close range because the beauty and detail of the small flowers tends to get lost if plants can not be examined and appreciated close up. Good cut flower.