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

Synonyms of Ophiopogon japonicus (29) (Updated on 11-16-22 from Plants of the World Online): Anemarrhena cavaleriei H.Lév. (1915)(nom. illeg.), Convallaria graminifolia Salisb. (1796), Convallaria japonica Thunb. (1780), Convallaria japonica var. minor Thunb. (1784), Flueggea anceps Raf. (1838), Flueggea angulata Raf. (1838)(nom. illeg.), Flueggea japonica (Thunb.) Rich. (1807), Flueggea japonica var. minor (Thunb.) Schult. & Schult.f. (1829), Liriope gracilis (Kunth) Nakai (1920), Mondo gracile (Kunth) Koidz. (1934), Mondo gracile var. brevipedicellatum Koidz. (1934), Mondo japonicum (Thunb.) Farw. (1921), Mondo longifolium Ohwi (1934), Mondo stolonifer (H.Lév. & Vaniot) Farw. (1921), Ophiopogon argyi H.Lév. (1910), Ophiopogon chekiangensis Koiti Kimura & Migo (1982), Ophiopogon gracilis Kunth (1850), Ophiopogon gracilis var. brevipedicellatus (Koidz.) Nemoto (1936), Ophiopogon japonicus var. caespitosus Okuyama (1951), Ophiopogon japonicus var. elevatus Kuntze (1891), Ophiopogon japonicus var. umbrosus Maxim. (1869), Ophiopogon merrillii Masam. (1937), Ophiopogon ohwii Okuyama (1937), Ophiopogon stolonifer H.Lév. & Vaniot (1905), Polygonastrum compressum Moench (1802), Slateria coerulea Siebold ex Miq. (1867), Slateria japonica (Thunb.) Desv. (1809), Tricoryne acaulis D.Dietr. (1840), Tricoryne caulescens D.Dietr. (1840)

Ophiopogon japonicus (Thunb.) Ker Gawl. is the accepted scientific name for Mondo Grass. The genus and species were named and 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.

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 Linnaeus the Younger was the son of Carl von Linnaeus. Since Convallaria japonica was first named by Carl Peter Thunberg in 1780, it wins over Carl Linnaeus the Younger’s description in 1782. 

As of 11-16-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 81 species in the Ophiopogon genus. It is a member of the plant family Asparagaceae with 120 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

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 they stayed fairly short. I transplanted some of the rhizomes to other areas and they took right off. Well, the last time I did it was in the middle of the summer and I had to keep it well-watered at first. I would really like to try it here on the farm in west-central Missouri but it isn’t hardy here.

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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