Ophiopogon is a genus of herbaceous perennial plants in the family Ruscaceae, formerly classified with the Liliaceae. There are about 65 species, native to warm temperate to tropical east, southeast, and south Asia. The name of the genus is derived from Greek ophis, "snake", and pogon, "beard", most probably referring to its leaves.
They grow from short rhizomes, and bear tufts of leaves, from which flowers emerge in racemes held on short stems above the leaves.
Cultivation and uses
Some species such as Ophiopogon japonicus and Ophiopogon planiscapus are used as ground cover plants.
In Chinese medicine the tuber of Ophiopogon japonicus, known as mai men dong, is the cardinal herb for yin deficiency. According to the Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica, the herb is sweet, slightly bitter and slightly cold, enters the heart, lung and stomach channels and nourishes the yin of the stomach, spleen, heart and lungs and clears heat and quiets irritability. It is used for hacking dry coughs, dry tongue and mouth and constipation. Liriope (genus) is used as a substitute.
Ophiopogon japonicus (Mondo grass, Fountain plant, monkey grass) is a species of Ophiopogon native to Japan. It is an evergreen, sod-forming perennial plant. The leaves are linear, 20-40 cm long. The flowers are white to pale lilac, borne in a short raceme on a 5-10 cm stem. The fruit is a blue berry 5 mm diameter.
In Chinese medicine Ophiopogon japonicus tuber, known as mai men dong, is the cardinal herb for yin deficiency. According to the Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica, the herb is sweet, slightly bitter and slightly cold, enters the Heart, Lung and Stomach channels and nourishes the yin of the Stomach, Spleen, Heart and Lungs and clears heat and quiets irritability. It is used for hacking dry coughs, dry tongue and mouth and constipation.
It is also grown as an ornamental plant.
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