Monkey Grass, Creeping Liriope, Lilyturf
Synonyms of Liriope spicata (11) (Updated on 2-5-21): Liriope koreana (Palib.) Nakai, Liriope spicata var. humilis F.Z.Li, Liriope spicata f. koreana (Palib.) H.Hara, Liriope spicata var. prolifera Y.T.Ma, Liriope tawadae Ohwi, Mondo fauriei (H.Lév. & Vaniot) Farw., Mondo koreanum (Palib.) Hiatsusima, Ophiopogon fauriei H.Lév. & Vaniot, Ophiopogon koreanus (Palib.) Masam., Ophiopogon spicatus (Lour.) Ker Gawl., Ophiopogon tawadae (Ohwi) Masam.
Liriope spicata (Thunb.) Lour. is the correct and accepted scientific name for Monkey Grass. The genus AND species were named and described as such by João de Loureiro in Flora Cochinchinensis in 1790. It was first described as Convallaria spicata by Carl Peter Thunberg in Systema Vegetabilium in 1784.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 8 accepted species in the Liriope genus (as of 2-5-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plant family Asparagaceae with 118 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
The Liriope spicata was one of the original plants at the mansion in Mississippi. They were growing almost all the way around the old fish pool in the backyard.
Common Name: Monkey Grass, Creeping Liriope
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Origin: China and Vietnam
Zones: USDA Zones 4-10
Soil: average, medium, well-drained soil
Size: 1-1 1/2” tall
Flowers: Produces lavender to white flowers in August through September
Light: Full sun to part shade
Propagation: Can spread aggressively by underground rhizomes. Easily transplanted.
The genus name is named after the Greek woodland nymph, Liriope, who was the mother of Narcissus. The species name means spike-bearing.
I didn’t bring any of these with me when I moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri. I do know where I can get a start, though.
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