Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' - Asparagaceae


Mostly mistaken for a grass, this plant is actually a close relative to Convallaria sp. - Lily of the Valley. It forms a dense carpet of black foliage, a perfect and robust groundcover that will grow in pretty much any location.


EN: Black Lily Turf, D: -, FR: -, ESP: -, ZH: -

Lilac flower buds appear in early summer.

Rhizomatous, clump-forming, slowly spreading herbaceous perennial, closely related to Convallaria (Lily of the Valley), good ground cover, evergreen strappy foliage makes it look like grass, tough and leathery foliage can be walked on, deep purple leaves appearing black, will show some greening when grown in deep shade, flowers appear in summer, lilac bells in racemes followed by black berries.

Height: 0.2m ( 0.6ft)

Very low maintenance. Can be left all year. Dead-heading and gentle raking through the plants will tidy it up but is not necessary.

Easily propagated by division. Every year the plants will form several rhizomes which can be cut off and potted up or planted to fill gaps.
In summer plants show bell-shaped lilac flowers.

...followed by blueish-black berries.

Fabulous contrast planting.

Meaning of plant name:
OPHIOPOGON: greek, snake-beard
PLANISCAPUS: latin, flat stemmed (here the flower stalk of O. planiscapus)
NIGRESCENS: turning black, darkening

The plain species Ophiopogon planiscapus is native to central and southern Japan, woods and thickets in lowlands and foothills.

Growing conditions:
Grows in any soils other than waterlogged, very robust otherwise, acidic or alkaline conditions, sandy or clay, drought resistant, full sun or full shade makes no matter, perfect plant for difficult conditions incl. erosion control on slopes etc., however in full shade leaves might turn slightly green and it might flower less

Hardiness: H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10°C)

Pests and Diseases: generally no problems

Other useful information:

Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' makes a wonderful robust groundcover for any location.

The more sun they get the darker the leaves will be.

In deep shade some leaves might show more green, as the colouring pigment is not stimulated enough.

Black Mondo or also widely called 'black grass', however, botanically not a grass at all.

Have a look at Related Species