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Lycoris radiata - (L'Hér.)Herb.

Common Name Spider Lily, Red spider lily, Nerine Lily, Short tube Lycoris
Family Amaryllidaceae
USDA hardiness 8-10
Known Hazards The bulb contains toxins and must be leached before it is used for food[105, 218]. Bulbs contain 2 inactive alkaloids[179].
Habitats By cultivated fields and in meadows in the lowland and hills of C. and S. Japan[58].
Range E. Asia - South-eastern China and southern Japan.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Lycoris radiata Spider Lily, Red spider lily, Nerine Lily, Short tube Lycoris

Lycoris radiata Spider Lily, Red spider lily, Nerine Lily, Short tube Lycoris


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Bloom Color: Red. Main Bloom Time: Early fall, Late summer. Form: Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of bulb
Lycoris radiata is a BULB growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 3. It is in leaf from September to July, in flower in August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

 South Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root
Edible Uses:

Bulb - cooked. It is used as a source of starch[105, 177, 179]. The bulb is 2.5 to 3.5cm in diameter[200]. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Cancer  Emetic  Expectorant  Poultice

The root is used in the treatment of swellings, ulcers and the nervous afflictions of children[218]. The bulb is emetic and expectorant[61, 174, 218], a decoction is used to counteract poison[218] and is also applied to ulcers and swellings[178, 218]. The bulb can be made into a plaster and is then applied to burns and scalds[240]. The plant is said to have anticancer properties[218].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Container, Specimen. Requires a deep well-drained sandy soil rich in organic matter in full sun[200]. This species is hardy to at least -15°c[200]. Other reports say that the bulb tolerates soil temperatures down to about -5°c[214, 260]. This is a difficult plant to grow outdoors in temperate areas, the plant comes into growth in late summer, flowers in the autumn and the leaves then persist until the following summer when the plant will have a short period of dormancy. These leaves can be killed by hard frosts and, should this happen often, the bulb will be weakened and killed[200, 260]. Plants therefore require a sheltered position to avoid damage to the growing leaves in the winter[200]. Plants need a warm period in late summer in order to ripen the bulbs and induce flowering in the following year[188]. Plants are attractive to slugs and need to be protected from them[200]. Very sensitive to root disturbance, the bulbs can take some years to become well established[200]. This plant is superficially similar to Nerine sarnensis and is often confused with that species[200]. Special Features: Not North American native, Suitable for cut flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse and should germinate in the spring[200]. Sow the seed thinly so that it does not need to be disturbed for its first year of growth. Give an occasional liquid feed during the growing season to ensure the plants do not become nutrient deficient. Pot up the small bulbs when the plants become dormant, placing 2 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on for another 2 years in the greenhouse before planting them out when they are dormant. Division of offsets in the dormant season[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Lycoris aureaGolden Spider LilyBulb0.6 6-9  LMNM01 
Lycoris sanguineaSpider LilyBulb0.5 5-9  LMNM20 
Lycoris squamigeraResurrection Lily, Hardy Amaryllis, Magic Lily, Autumn Lycoris, Naked LadyBulb0.7 6-10 SLMNM20 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

Ian Powell   Sat Apr 30 10:52:49 2005

Called Higan bana in Japanese, as that is a day the dead return to the world, which is the same time as it blooms. The root is used to detract mice, the mille toxic effect. Hense, they are planted by rice fields. Arrived with Buddism.

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