Mondo grass (where did that name come from?) is not in fact a true grass, but an evergreen clump-forming perennial that looks like one. The handsome virtually black leaves of Ophopogon NIgrescens are complemented in summer by tiny purplish white flowers, followed by black berries. Adorable and seemingly indestructible. Any reasonable soil. Sun or semi-shade. 10 in. 1 litre pot.


We have Ophiopogon NIgrescens in the ground and in large pots and it does equally well in both situations. It's certainly not a slow grower, as some would suggest, and quickly fills out. It’s a tough little thing, as suggested above, and will withstand a degree of foot traffic from pets and children, which makes it a good choice for a well used family garden. It’s certainly distinctive, with those robust leaves being as properly black as anything you will see on a perennial plant.

There is much diversity of opinion on how to pronounce the genus name Ophiopogon: we have our own views on the matter, but won’t force them on you. Live and let live, we say. The origins of the name are quite intriguing, as it essentially means snake’s beard in Greek. Liking that. The Nigrescens bit, which refers to the black colouration, is debatable too, as you can find out here.

If ever there was a care-free plant, this might be it. It asks nothing of you, and you can easily dig up bits of a larger clump to make new plants. A generous little thing, indeed.

Atmospheric music accompanies this short (French) video which has some very pretty images of Ophiopogon NIgrescens, particularly of plants in flower.

Ophiopogon Nigrescens is a hardy evergreen perennial plant with grassy black leaves and purplish white flowers in summer suitable for sun or semi-shade.

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