Liriope (genus)

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Lily turf
Young variegated Liriope spicata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Genus: Liriope

Liriope /lɪˈr.əp/[1] is a genus of low, grass-like, flowering plants from East Asia. Some species are often used in landscaping in temperate latitudes. It may be called lilyturf in North America although neither a true grass (family Poaceae) nor lily (genus Lilium). In the APG III classification system, it is placed in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Nolinoideae (formerly the family Ruscaceae[2]). Like many lilioid monocots, it was once classified with lilies in the family Liliaceae; it has also been placed in Convallariaceae. The genus was named for Liriope in Greek mythology.


Liriope are usually used in the garden for their evergreen foliage as a groundcover. Some species, e.g., L. spicata, grow aggressively in the right conditions, spreading by runners; hence their nickname, "creeping lilyturf".

In the southeastern United States Liriope is sometimes referred to by the nickname monkey grass or spider grass.

The pronunciation of "Liriope" varies. A common pronunciation is /ləˈr.əp/ lə-RY-ə-pee,[3] but there are many regional variations. In the southern United States, for example, it may be pronounced /ˈlrɵp/ LY-ro-pee, /lɪərˈ.ɵp/ leer-RY-o-pee, or /ˈlɪəri.p/ LEER-ee-ohp.


Liriope muscari is perhaps most widespread in cultivation and is considered appropriate for USDA Hardiness Zones 6-10.[4]

Spikes of tiny violet-blue flowers appear in late summer, and will be more prolific with a dose or two of fertilizer early in the season. A number of variegated varieties are now available to add golden or silver flashes of color to shady situations.



  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ Chase, M.W.; Reveal, J.L. & Fay, M.F. (2009), "A subfamilial classification for the expanded asparagalean families Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae", Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2): 132–136, doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00999.x 
  3. ^ Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition
  4. ^ Hortus III, Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, 1976