Toad-Lily With Grasses And Nicotiana

Tricyrtis flowers and buds with grasses

High up on my photogenic flowers list comes tricyrtis, also known by the folk name toad-lily. This one is all the more picturesque for the curtain of grasses and backdrop of nicotiana (those pale, drooping, trumpet-like flowers).

Layered symmetry is a big part of a toad-lily’s charm. Looking down at the main flower, beneath three forked tongues joined triskelion-style, you’ll find a ring of legs with shoes that appear to be dancing. Well, they might if, like me, you’ve been keeping up with this year’s Strictly. The three narrow petals have a delicate smattering of freckles and are positioned between three darker sepals, their ends curling back. The yellow splotches (almost hearts, if you squint enough) give this particular form a sunny glow. 

A detailed description of tricyrtis with the correct botanical terms can be found on this website, together with some amazing close up shots.

I’m linking to Cee’s Flower of the Day.

26 thoughts on “Toad-Lily With Grasses And Nicotiana

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Oh my! You have been staring at flowers too long. My former editors said the same about the stamens on passion fruit flowers. Of course, there is a lot to see in one of those flowers! Have you seen the rats in the cones of Douglas fir?

  2. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Certainly very exotic flowers and an interesting origin of the common name which doesn’t evoke the idea of a beautiful flower at all!

  3. Vicki says:

    Wow, Susan, your photo is fabulous.

    I’d photographed the same Toad Lily next to a shady path in the Royal Botanic Gardens here in Melbourne, but my images are nowhere near as great as yours (or the link you gave us).

    My excuse is that it is a very windy path and it took me ages to find it in flower a second time for photography purposes.

    • susurrus says:

      Thanks Vicki. I was lucky to see it on a nice, calm day. I tried to take some smaller, spotted ones a couple of days ago and couldn’t get a decent shot at all.

  4. Oddment says:

    Is it just my aging eyes, or is that blackcurrant color seeping in everywhere? Those buds are absolutely regal in their purple. And what is that grassy-feathery bit hanging down on the right? It is like a sketch the way it suggests that same purple. I love your description, of course; I’ll take hearts and dancing shoes and forked tongues and freckles any day over the botanical names, which will never stay with me. It was very thoughtful of that white nicotiana to bow just the way it did into that particular space. A beauty of a portrait!

    • susurrus says:

      I’ve never grown them from seed, and after searching, couldn’t find any reference to how long you might expect them to take before flowering. I did find a few interesting snippets, including the fact that each stem only lasts a year and, in the meanwhile, next year’s stems are budding below the soil. You might make a note to write a post with the answer to your question when yours eventually flower!

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