spider lily

Spider lilies are everywhere in Tokyo during fall

I love these bright red spider lilies, called higanbana in Japanese (ヒガンバナ).  They are extremely hardy, and pop up everywhere in the fall on green stalks with no leaves. The name means fall equinox flower.

I learned in Kevin Short’s wonderful book Nature in Tokyo that Japan has few native red plants; he connects this absence to the fact that most insects do not see red, and that Japan has no hummingbirds to pollinate red flowers.