Tricyrtis formosana 'Samurai'

Samurai toad lily

CODE: 01C-0003
ZONE: 5a
PRICE: $8.00
POT SIZE: 4.5"sq x 3.5", 475 ml

With all of the diversity in the plant world, I find it fascinating that 'Samurai' is one of only two variegated forms of Tricyrtis formosana known in cultivation. Originally found in the Japanese garden of a Mrs. Masaoka by Clarence H. Falstad III, of Michigan. She allowed divisions to be brought back to the United States where Mr. Falstad introduced the plant with the help of his employer, Walters Gardens.

When it was discovered, nobody really knew what it was because there variegated forms of T. formosana had never been seen before. With some help from Darrel Probst the species was finally identified and given the name 'Samurai' to honor its origins.

As mentioned before, 'Samurai' is mostly noted for its variegation. The glossy, medium-green leaves have rich gold margins that persist all season long, even in hot, steamy weather. The flowers are typical for T. formosana and every bit as beautiful: pale lavender and orchid-like, they're covered with a light mottling of dark purple spots and perfect as cut flowers in autumn bouquets.

It's a strong grower and produces an abundance of blooms that blankets its tiny frame from September through frost. Since this toad lily is shorter than many, it's best in the front of shady borders where the blooms and variegation can be appreciated. Try planting it with dark green ferns like Dryopteris marginalis or in front of Cimicifuga ramosa 'Brunette' for a great contrast.

As long as you provide enough water, this toad lily won't let you down. Give it light, filtered shade and some occassional fertilizer for even better growth.

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(c) 2007 Christopher P. Lindsey