Liriope (genus)

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LyriopeSpicata wb.jpg
Young variegated Liriope spicata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Genus: Liriope

Globeria Raf.

Liriope is a genus of low, grass-like, flowering plants from East Asia and Southeast Asia.[1] [2]

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[3]). 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.

Background and pronunciation[edit]

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 /lˈrəˌp/ lə-RY-ə-pee,[4][5] but there are many regional variations. In the southern United States, for example, it may be pronounced /ˈlrˌp/ LY-ro-pee, /lɪərˈˌp/ leer-RY-o-pee, or /ˈlɪəriˌp/ LEER-ee-ohp.


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

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. Liriope graminifolia (L.) Baker - Philippines; widespread across much of China
  2. Liriope kansuensis (Batalin) C.H.Wright - Sichuan, Gansu
  3. Liriope longipedicellata F.T.Wang & Tang - Sichuan
  4. Liriope minor (Maxim.) Makino - Japan, Ryukyu Islands, widespread across much of China
  5. Liriope muscari (Decne.) L.H.Bailey - Japan, Korea, widespread across much of China
  6. Liriope spicata Lour. - Japan, Ryukyu Islands, Korea, widespread across much of China


  1. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Flora of China, Vol. 24 Page 250, 山麦冬属 shan mai dong shu, Liriope Loureiro, Fl. Cochinch. 1: 190, 200. 1790.
  3. ^ 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 
  4. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  5. ^ "Liriope". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2016-01-23. 
  6. ^ Hortus III, Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, 1976