Sunday, October 7, 2012

Toad Lilies - a Whole Lot of Weird Going On

When Mr. Red House first saw a picture of a Toad Lily, his comment was 'Weird.'  And I rather agree with him.

  They have beautiful but weird-looking flowers, they have a weird name, and there is possibly an even weirder story behind how they became to be known as 'Toad Liles'.

Some say that they are called 'Toad Lilies' due the spotted flowers, which makes sense...

..but others say that these little flowers got their name when a 'Stone-age' tribe in the Philippines that was 'discovered' in the 1970's was shown rubbing juice from this plant all over their hand and arms before going to catch frogs to eat (as a supposed attractant for frogs).  

This was part of what is now known as the Tasaday hoax, where a man named Manuel Elizalde, Jr. (advisor to the president of the Philippines) had a primitive local group (the Tasaday people) dress up and act even more primitively so that he could claim that he had found a 'Stone-age' tribe. 

The tribe was documented by National Geographic, and a book was even written about it (The Gentle Tasaday) before it was finally discovered that it was a hoax contrived by Elizalde (who reportedly made off with quite a lot of money from the foundation that was set up to protect the Tasaday).

Toad Lilies and Toad Lily juice doesn't really attract frogs or toads either - that part was a hoax as well.
Weird, huh?

These little flowers are native to parts of Asia, such as the Himalayas, China, Japan, and, of course, the Philippines.  They grow naturally along the edges of woodlands, preferring shade and rich, moist soil.  You might want to plant them somewhere where you can see the diminutive blooms close up!

Well, however weird their name or story, Toad Lilies are an exotically beautiful addition for a late-blooming shade garden!


  1. pretty but even more interesting are the leaves...

  2. Wonder if 'Krippendorf's Tribe', the movie with Robin Williams was based on that? Lovely flower, very unique.

  3. Thanks for the story ! One never gets close enough to the ground to spot such extrencity. That's a lesson learnt ! :)

  4. Indie, these lilies are rare flowers, I think. I've never seen like these but I liked!

  5. India!
    Lily is a beautiful flower.
    We are happy to watch the pictures.
    They are excellent !
    Have a nice day!

  6. Beautiful photographs, flowers are enrapturing. I am greeting

  7. Cool background on these beauties. I have several in my shade garden and they do add a much needed pop of color there at this time of year. I always wondered how they got their peculiar name. They are really exotic looking, kinda remind me of the passionvine blooms.

  8. Here in Belgium we call them "poor people orchids" as orchids used to be quite expensive. But now a lot of orchids are very affordable for most people .

  9. I'd never heard this story about the toad lily's name--how funny! I've always wanted to add these to my garden and was lucky enough to be given three plants this spring. Unfortunately, it looks like none of them survived--I planted them in dry shade, which wasn't a good idea with this year's drought.

  10. Love them! I had two plants that lasted a few years, and then didn't come back. I will have to try them again in a different spot. Thanks for the encouragement!

  11. Beautiful flowers, miraculous colours, admiring such views are wonderful. I am greeting

  12. Great story. Mine also do great in Cary, NC but they need to be protected from rabbits, or they will be history!

  13. I adore toad lilies in the fall...they are so interesting and weird.

  14. They are amazing looking - like plants from another planet.


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