Mondo Grass, Dwarf Lilyturf
Synonyms of Ophiopogon japonicus (21) (Updated on 2-8-21): Convallaria graminifolia Salisb., Convallaria japonica Thunb., Flueggea anceps Raf., Flueggea angulata Raf., Flueggea japonica (Thunb.) Rich., Liriope gracilis (Kunth) Nakai, Mondo gracile (Kunth) Koidz., Mondo japonicum (Thunb.) Farw., Mondo longifolium Ohwi, Mondo stolonifer (H.Lév. & Vaniot) Farw., Ophiopogon argyi H.Lév., Ophiopogon chekiangensis Koiti Kimura & Migo, Ophiopogon gracilis Kunth, Ophiopogon merrillii Masam., Ophiopogon ohwii Okuyama, Ophiopogon stolonifera H.Lév. & Vaniot, Polygonastrum compressum Moench, Slateria coerulea Siebold ex Miq., Slateria japonica (Thunb.) Desv., Tricoryne acaulis D.Dietr., Tricoryne caulescens D.Dietr.
Ophiopogon japonicus (Thunb.) Ker Gawl. is the correct and 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. The link on POWO to IPNI for “other data” is incorrect and says Ophiopogon japonicus (L.f.) Ker Gawl. The name on the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) by Kew, however, is correct. IPNI is waiting for the correct name and then the link will be corrected. I checked with the senior content editor of Kew…
Plants of the World Online lists 77 species in the Ophiopogon genus (as of 2-9-21 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.
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.
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 in mid-summer and I 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.
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