Herb: Spider Lily

Latin name: Lycoris radiata

Family: Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis Family)

Medicinal use of Spider Lily:

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

Description of the plant:


50 cm
(1 foot)


Habitat of the herb:

By cultivated fields and in meadows in the lowland and hills of C. and S. Japan.

Edible parts of Spider Lily:

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

Propagation of the herb:

The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse and should germinate in the spring. 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.

Cultivation of Spider Lily:

By cultivated fields and in meadows in the lowland and hills of C. and S. Japan.

Known hazards of Lycoris radiata:

The bulb contains toxins and must be leached before it is used for food. Bulbs contain 2 inactive alkaloids.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.