|Young variegated Liriope spicata|
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). 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 common name monkey grass or spider grass.
The pronunciation of "Liriope" varies. A common pronunciation is // lə-RY-ə-pee, but there are many regional variations. In the southern United States, for example, it may be pronounced // LY-ro-pee, // leer-RY-o-pee, or // LEER-ee-ohp.
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.
- Liriope graminifolia (L.) Baker - Philippines; widespread across much of China
- Liriope kansuensis (Batalin) C.H.Wright - Sichuan, Gansu
- Liriope longipedicellata F.T.Wang & Tang - Sichuan
- Liriope minor (Maxim.) Makino - Japan, Ryukyu Islands, widespread across much of China
- Liriope muscari (Decne.) L.H.Bailey - Japan, Korea, widespread across much of China
- Liriope spicata Lour. - Japan, Ryukyu Islands, Korea, widespread across much of China
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
- Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
- Flora of China, Vol. 24 Page 250, 山麦冬属 shan mai dong shu, Liriope Loureiro, Fl. Cochinch. 1: 190, 200. 1790.
- 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
- Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition
- Hortus III, Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, 1976