Saturday, September 24, 2011


Soon after I arrived to Japan a year ago I remember admiring these spidery red flowers.  They were hard to miss, their bright redness dotting the edges of soon-to-be harvested rice fields.

As it turns out the flowers have a purpose.  Red spider lily (Lycoris radiata) is a member of the amaryllis family, the bulbs being toxic, help to keep unwanted critters out of the rice fields.
Known as  higanbana in Japanese,  the flowers pop-up like clockwork around September 23, marking the shift into from long summer days to longer autumn nights.  Autumn equinox also is the time of year when people pay respects to their ancestors.  Happy Autumn, Everyone!


  1. I adore spider lilies! Small numbers of them grow around my area, and I'm always thrilled when I see them because I know our incredibly brief autumn is coming. :) I didn't know that they kept bugs away, though!

  2. @Rebecca - I'd never seen before moving to Japan; glad to hear you find them lovely too.