Liriope muscari (Decne.) L.H. Bailey

Big Blue Lilyturf


CC = *
CW = 5
MOC = 1

© SRTurner

Family - Liliaceae

Habit - Perennial forb, growing in clumps to 50 cm high, the roots fibrous and sometimes tuberous.

Stem - Aerial stems absent.

Leaves - Numerous, arching, straplike, 1.0-1.5 cm wide, glabrous, the venation parallel.

Liriope_muscari_leaf1.jpg Leaves adaxial.

© SRTurner

Liriope_muscari_leaf2.jpg Leaves abaxial.

© SRTurner

Inflorescences - Spikelike racemes borne above the foliage, typically with 2-5 flowers occurring at each inflorescence node, these borne on short stalks.

Liriope_muscari_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner

Liriope_muscari_inflorescence2.jpg Portion of inflorescence at bud stage.

© SRTurner

Flowers - Perianth 6-parted, light purple. Stamens 6.

Liriope_muscari_flowers.jpg Flowers.

© SRTurner

Liriope_muscari_flower1.jpg Flower lateral view.

© SRTurner

Liriope_muscari_flower2.jpg Perianth.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Drupelike, black at maturity.

Liriope_muscari_fruits1.jpg Fruits.

© SRTurner

Liriope_muscari_fruits2.jpg Fruits and seeds.

© SRTurner

Flowering - August - October.

Habitat - Lawns, gardens, disturbed areas. Frequently cultivated as ground cover.

Origin - Native to Asia.

Lookalikes - Other species of Liriope. More distantly, species of Muscari.

Other info. - Though frequently cultivated as ground cover, this species rarely escapes in Missouri. It has been reported from widely scattered locations in the southeastern U.S., but is infrequent outside of cultivation. The plant is recognized by its tufts (or solid expanse) of straplike leaves and its small lilac-colored spikelike inflorescences. Though there is some superficial resemblance to species of Muscari, close examination shows the flowers to be very different. The specific identity of the plants shown above is not completely certain.

Photographs taken near Labadie, Franklin County, MO, 9-4-2020, 8-18-2021, and 11-7-2021 (SRTurner).