The Red Spider Lily flower is one of the few flowers that show its beauty as winter season. When all the other flowers in your garden or about to wither and give way to a frosty winter, the red spider lily is getting into its element. This flower lies dormant throughout the summer, and start blossoming as winter sets in. These bright red color flowers start blooming in the month of September to October. They last for two weeks after blossoming, and then turn into a light pinkish shade before withering away.
The flower is called by many different names, as discussed below. Its scientific name is Lycoris radiata and it is native to China, Nepal and Korea. Later, it was introduced in Japan and in North America. It is considered naturalized in Seychelles and Ryukyu Islands. The red spider lily is called a lot of different names because of certain characteristics that exhibits. For instance, it is called “naked lily” because it appears before the green leaves of the rest of the plant can unfurl. It is also called “hurricane lily” or “resurrection lily” because it often blooms after or as a response to heavy rainfall. The more common name “red spider lily” is given because the flower very closely resembles the legs of a spider.
The red spider lily is a perennial flower done blooms after summer. In full bloom, it reaches to a height of about 30 to 70 cm. Owing to its bright colour, you can use it as an ornamental garden plant between rows of other animal and perennial plants as a splash of colour. The flower needs well drained sandy or loamy soil. Full sun or partial shade conditions will effectively lead the growth of the plant. It can grow in both acidic and alkaline soil, as long as the soil is not too much of either.
There are two varieties of the red spider lily. The first one is Lycoris radiata var. radiata which is sterile and does not have any mechanism to reproduce. This is so that the plant can spend as much time and energy as is required for blooming into a beautiful flower. The second variety is Lycoris radiata var. pumila which is the less common variety and can propagate through seeds.
Red Spider Lily Flower Meaning and symbolism
Throughout Asia, the red spider lily flower meaning is associated with goodbyes. According to ancient legends the red spider lily is set to grow wherever people part ways for the final time. In Buddhist writings, the red spider lily flower meaning is to guide people through the cycle of rebirth. For this reason, this flower is often used in funerals.
Another reason why the red spider lily flower meaning is associated with final goodbyes is that they are also associated with death. This is because the buds of this plant are poisonous and in the past, they were used as useful deterrents to keep pests away from rice fields. Farmers used to plant the red spider lily along the borders of their rice fields in the attempt to keep away any pests such as mice and the like. The idea was that these pests would die when they ate the spider lily buds.
Interesting facts about Red Spider Lily
Here are some interesting facts about the Red Spider Lilies –
- Captain William Roberts, who was an American politician and diplomat, was the first to introduce this variety of lily in the United States in 1854. He brought back three bulbs of the red spider lily from Japan. When his niece planted them, she found that they did not bloom for a long time, until the first rain.
- The parents of the red spider lily plant are poisonous. This is why they are used around paddy fields to keep mice and other pests away.
- In Japan, this flower has over 1000 different names. This is because this flower has wide mention in Japanese ancient literature and all its different names come from the different stories it is associated with.
- There are some superstitions regarding the red spider lily flower meaning. There is a superstition in Japan that if someone picks this flower and brings it home, the house would burn down. As superstitions go, this one is probably created to keep children from touching the poisonous bulbs of this flower.
- This flower is extensively used for symbolism in Japan, including in their literature, movies and even Japanese anime. The red spider lily flower meaning is extensively emphasized in Japanese literature.
- Spider lilies are also available in other colors apart from red such as –
- White spider lily
The white spider lily represents positivity, freshness of nature and a simple life. It is said to symbolize new beginnings. It represents positivity of human nature. It is also a perennial plant that grows between late summer and early fall.
- Golden/Yellow Spider lily
This shade of the lily represents wealth. It symbolizes richness and increase in possessions. It is also a symbol of courage, love and wisdom. Certain legends also associate it to remembrance of someone special in your life, to happiness and to passion.
- Pink Spider lily
The pink or orange spider lily is a symbol of pride, self-confidence and conviction. It is also associated with success, enjoyment and enthusiasm.
- Electric blue spider lily
The blue spider lily does not exist in reality. However, it is present in theory and in literature. The blue spider lily is associated with calmness, gratitude and positivity. Certain stories also link it to truth and purity. It can also mean trustworthiness, accuracy and reliability of work, as evidenced by many Japanese literary works.
Best time to give Red Spider Lilies
In keeping with the red spider lily flower meaning, it should not be presented to someone on happy occasions. It is regarded as a flower of death, something that brings death with it. Hence, the best time to give someone red spider lilies would be at the funeral of their loved ones. In fact, it is extensively used in funerals as the red spider lily flower meaning symbolizes the journey of the soul to the new world after death.
The scientific reason behind this is probably that the flowers are poisonous. So, they were used to keep wolves and other animals from scavenging once the dead were buried. With time, many stories came to be associated with the red spider lily flower meaning, such as it drew its red color from the blood of the dead, and so on. However, today these flowers are extensively used as a garden ornamental plant because of their bright red color and their beauty.