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Products > Ophiopogon clarkei
Ophiopogon clarkei - Himalayan Mondo Grass

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Grass-like
Family: Liliaceae (Lilies)
Origin: Himalaya Mountain Region (Asia)
Evergreen: Yes
Bloomtime: Summer
Synonyms: [Mondo dracaenoides var. clarkei]
Height: <1 foot
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: <15 F
Ophiopogon clarkei (Clark's Lily Turf) - A dense evergreen, low-growing rhizomatous grass-like plant to 8 inches tall with long (up to 12 inches) dark green narrow (1/4") leaves and short racemes of small lilac-tinged white flowers in summer that are followed by dark purple berries. The long length and narrowness of the leaves causes them to arch over gracefully. It is a moderately vigorous spreader via rhizomes (underground stems) but does not seem to be so vigorous that it is invasive and it does not move into drier soils. Grows in full sun to light shade with regular garden watering but is surprising tolerant of only occasional irrigation once established. Hardy to below 0F and useful in zones USDA 7-10. Clark's Lily Turf is found growing naturally in forests, scrub forests, cliffs, stream sides in NE India, Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan, E Xizang, NW Yunnan, at altitudes between 6,500 and 11,500 feet. The name of the genus is derived from Greek words 'ophis' meaning a "snake" and 'pogon' meaning "beard" which is thought to refer to tufted growth of the leaves. The specific epithet was Joseph Hooker's name to honor fellow British botanist Charles Baron Clarke (1832 1906), who collected many plants in the Indian subcontinent and worked with Hooker at The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. Besides the name Himalayan Mondo Grass, other common names include Himalayan Mondo Grass or Bhutan Lilyturf (or Lily Turf). Though formally placed in the family Liliaceae and later in the Ruscaceae, it is now placed in the subfamily Nolinoideae within the family Asparagaceae. It was first introduced into cultivation by the Bureau of Plant Industry (USDA) in 1940 (BPI 133119 and BPI 135803-1940). We thank John Greenlee for first introducing us to this charming little plant that graces several locations in our garden and has become a favorite of a few discerning landscape designers, who note that it is a great understory for larger shrubs. We have grown this plant since 1990.  The information on this page is based on our research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery containers, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Ophiopogon clarkei.