Ophiopogon japonicus-Mondo Grass

Ophiopogon japonicus (Mondo Grass) on 12-10-12, #136-5.

Mondo Grass, Dwarf Lilyturf

Ophiopogon japonicus

oh-fee-oh-POE-gon jah-PON-ih-kus

Ophiopogon japonicus (Thunb.) Ker Gawl. is the correct and accepted scientific name for Mondo Grass. It was first described as such by John Bellenden Ker Gawler in Botanical Magazine in 1807. It was first named and described as Convallaria japonica Thunb. by Carl Peter Thunberg in Nova Acta Regiae Societatis Upsaliensis in 1780.

Tropicos and a few other sites say the scientific name is Ophiopogon japonicus (L.f.) Ker Gawl. and the basionym is Convallaria japonica L. f. which was first described by Carl von Linnaeus The Younger in Supplementum Plantarum in 1782. Carl von Linnaeus the Younger was the son of Carl von Linnaeus. It is possible the first documentation by Mr. Thunberg was rejected by some… No matter, the correct and accepted name is Ophiopogon japonicus. Originally, Carl von Linnaeus named the genus Convallaria in 1753 and Mr. Ker Gawler named the genus Ophiopogon in 1807.

Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 77 accepted species in the genus Ophiopogon.

Native to China, India, Japan, Philippines, and Vietnam.

There are a few cultivars, even a variegated variety with white striped leaves and one that produces white flowers.

Common Name: Mondo Grass
Family: Asparagaceae
Zones: USDA Zones 7-10
Size: Around 4-6” tall or more
Soil: Prefers rich well-drained soil
Flowers: Lavender flowers in June and July
Light: Part to full shade
Water: Medium but prefers consistently moist soil
Propagation: Spreads slowly by rhizomes. Can remove the rhizomes and replant

There were several good patches of Mondo Grass at the mansion in Mississippi. I really loved the dark green leaves and the way it stayed fairly short. I transplanted some of the rhizomes to other areas and they took right off. Well, the last time I did it in mid-summer and had to keep it well watered at first.

Ophiopogon japonicus is not particularly winter hardy where I live now in mid-Missouri, zone 6a, BUT it is possible with protection. SO, I think someday it will be worth some experimenting.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


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