Ophiopogon japonicus: Dwarf lilyturf

Family: Asparagaceae
Common name: Dwarf lilyturf, Mondograss, Fountainplant, Monkeygrass

Dwarf Lilyturf plants look like giant grass and grows to about 25-30 cms, with long slender green leaves, or variegated green and white leaves. The leaves start all the way from the root of the plant and spread around in clumps, providing very good ground cover. Their roots are connected through slender tubes called stolons that run along the ground producing more plants. Flowers vary in color from white to light violet, a sharp contrast to the green leaves. They also produce dark blue fruits.

These are several cultivars and related species, distinguished based on the color of the flowers, also the color and length of leaves. There are some dwarf varieties that only grow 4-5 cms tall. The variegated leaf variety called ‘Silver Mist’ is a preferred garden plant because of its colorful foliage. ‘Silver mist’ plants resemble spider plants, with their white and green striped leaves.

Left undisturbed, the plant can cover a large area growing new plants from the runner roots. Dwarf lilyturf plants are relatively hardy and can tolerate less sunlight and water; and are also resistant to pests. They can grow well in semi-sunny or shady areas of your garden.

Though it is mostly grown as an ornamental plant, it has many medicinal uses in traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Dwarf Lilyturf plants is used in treatment of coughs, fever, constipation, insomnia and even diabetes.

Propagation is through seeds, also by replanting small plants that grow around the parent plant.

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