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Liriope and Ophiopogon

These two genera appear to many to be the same but have subtle botanical differences, the most obvious to gardeners is that Ophiopogon produce berries while Liriope produce dry seeds (albeit rarely!).

Neither are really known by common names in the UK but the "black grass" Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' is well enough known by that, slightly misleading common name, it is not a grass at all of course!

All of these plants make dense clumps or patches of evergreen foliage and can be useful for edging or groundcover use in shady places.  They all tend to do far better if grown in moist shade but will survive in a wide range of sites.  Some forms (including the often requested Ophiopogon japonicus) can be rather slow to increase, hence quite expensive to produce.  If a good, vigorous, but not invasive, groundcover is required Ophiopogon bodinieri is the better bet, covering the ground well, even in full sun.

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Liriope koreana

Liriope koreana£3.50

A rare species with pale gren strappy leaves and slender spikes, in late summer, of pinkish mauve flowers to 25cm. Decent soil in shade.

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Liriope muscari 'Ingwersen'£3.50

A selection with long spikes of mauve purple flowers in autumn. Clumps of deep green evergreen foliage. 25cm. Good soil in shade for best results.

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Liriope muscari 'Isabella'£4.00

A new Australian selection with pink flowers. Clumps of strappy green foliage for shade or part shade. 25cm.

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Liriope muscari 'Moneymaker'

Liriope muscari 'Moneymaker'£4.50

A free flowering selection with plenty of blue-purple spikes in late summer-autumn. Evergreen grassy foliage makes neat clumps for shade. Good soil. 20cm.

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Ophiopogon bodinieri B&L12505

Ophiopogon bodinieri B&L12505£3.00

Congested hummocks of very long, narrow strap-like leaves of a dark green. Spikes of small mauve flowers are followed by purplish berries. 25cm. Sun or shade, not dry.

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Ophiopogon japonicus£4.00

Low growing clumps. slowly spreading, of grass-like green leaves to 15cm. Light mauve flowers followed by blue berries if you are lucky! Often used as groundcover in Japanese style gardens. Good soil in shade.

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Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'

Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'£4.00

The classic “black grass”. Ideal for tubs and containers as well as edging borders etc. Strappy black foliage and short spikes of mauve flowers followed by black, pearl-like, berries. Decent soil in shade or part shade.

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Ophiopogon planiscapus f. leucanthus

Ophiopogon planiscapus f. leucanthus£5.00

Rarely seen green leafed form of the famous "black grass" with beautiful milky white flowers in mid to late summer. Good evergreen groundcover, even in quite dry shade.

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