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Family Convallariaceae
Liriope graminifolia (Linn.) Baker
Mai men dong
Scientific names Common names
Asparagus graminifolia L. Lilyturf (Engl.)
Convallaria spicata Thunb. Monkey grass (Engl.)
Dracaena graminifolia (L.) L. Porcupine grass-leaf monkey grass (Engl.)
Globeria autumnalis Raf.  
Globeria spicata (Thunb.) Raf.  
Liriope angustissima Ohwi  
Liriope crassiuscula Ohwi  
Liriope graminifolia (L.) Baker  
Mondo graminifolium (L.) Koidz.  
Ophiopogon graminifolius (L.) H.R.Wehrh.  
Ophiopogon spicatus (Thunb.) Hook [Illegitimate]  
Slateria repens Siebold  
Liriope graminifolia (L.) Baker is an accepted name. The Plant List
Quisumbing's compilation lists Liriope graminifolia (L.) Baker and Liriope spicata as synonyms. Other compilations list L. spicata as a separate species.

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: He ye shan mai dong, Mai men dong.

Lilyturf is an evergreen perennial stemless plant growing to a height of 0.3 meters. Tubers are pale yellowish-greenish, cylindrical and fleshy, translucent and flexible, 2.5 to 5 centimeters long, 0.3 to 0.6 centimeter in diameter, tapering at either extremity. Leaves are tufted, numerous, ensiform, 45 to 70 centimeters long, and 0.3 to 0.8 centimeters wide. Inflorescence is solitary, 20 to 33 centimeters long. Flowers are small and odorless, white or purplish.

- On open slopes at an altitude of about 1,400 meters in Luzon (Ilocos Norte, Rizal, Benguet Provinces) and in Batanes Islands.
- Occurs in Japan to Manchuria and southward to Hongkong and Taiwan.

- Rich in mucilage.
- Root contains about 1.6% protein, 0.5% fat, 80% carbohydrates, and 2.3% ash.
- Study of underground parts isolated two new steroidal saponins--lirigramosides A and B along with four known compounds.
- Study of underground parts yielded an unusual novel C27-steroidal glycoside sulfate from the underground parts, together with three known compounds. (See study below)

- An ethyl acetate extract yielded three compounds, viz. methylophiopogonanone B (compound 1),5,7-dihydroxy-6-methyl-3-(4-methoxybenzyl)-chroman-4-one (compound 2) and 7,4'-dihydroxy-5-methoxy flavanones (compound 3). A fraction of 50% ethanol yielded hesperidin (compound 4) and and 25(R, S)-ruscogenin-l-O-sulfate-3-O-a-L-rhamnopyranoside (compound 8). A 75% ethanol fraction isolated three compounds: 25(S)-ruscogenin-l-O-β-D-xylopyranoside-3-O-a-L-rhamnopyranoside (compound 5), 25(R)-ruscogenin-1-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1→2)-β-D-xylopyranoside (compound 6), (25S)-spirost-5-ene-3β,17α-diol-3-O-β-D-xylopyranosyl( 1→3)-α-L-arabinofuranosyl(l→2)-[α-L-rhamnogyranosyl (1→4)]-β-D-glucopyranoside (compound 7). (see study below) (10)

- The drug consists of cylindrical fleshy tubers from 1 to 2 inches in length, and from 1/8 to 1/4 inch in diameter, tapering at either extremity, pale yellowish-gray in color, translucent, soft and flexible. A central ligneous cord runs longitudinally through each.
- Candied tubers considered tonic, pectoral and aphrodisiac.
- Plant considered refrigerant.
- Studies have suggested anti-tumor, antioxidant, cardiac stimulant properties.

Parts used


- Roots, cooked. Also, candied.
- Root has a fleshy, tuberous part near its tip.
- Candied tubers eaten as tonic and aphrodisiac.
- In China, decoction of tubers used to fortify the lungs, for coughs, fevers and dysentery.
- In Chinese traditional medicine, used for asthma, bronchial and lung inflammation. Used as tonic to moisten yin.
- Ground cover: A good drought-tolerant ground cover.

Steroidal Saponins / Anti-Tumor Activities:
Study isolated two new steroidal saponins - lirigramosides A and B along with four known compounds. The isolated compounds were evaluated for their cytotoxic activities against Hela and SMMC-7721 cells. (2)
Hemodynamic Effects: Study evaluated the acute hemodynamic effects of water soluble extract of Liriope spicata in anesthetized cats. Results showed the WSEL increased ventricular contractile force and might increase cardiac pump function. (3)
Antioxidant: Study of methanolic and hot-water extracts from leaves of three cultivars of Mai-men-dong (Liriope spicata L) showed all three hot water extracts to effectively scavenge hydroxyl radical, with dose-dependent anti-DPPH radical activities. (4)
Anti-Tumor: Study of isolated eight compounds. Compound 1 showed strong anti-tumor activity against human cervical carcinoma; compound 7, moderate anti-tumor activity against human cervical carcinoma and human hepatocellular carcinoma; compound 5, antiproliferative activity against human cervical carcinoma.
Novel C27-Steroidal Glycoside / Cytotoxicity: Study of isolated an unusual novel C27-steroidal glycoside sulfate from the underground parts, together with three known compounds. Compound 1 (HR-MS, 1D and 2D NMR as (25S)-ruscogenin 1-sulfate-3-O-alpha-L-rhamnopyranoside) has cytotoxic activities against K562 and HL60 cells. (
Anti-Tumor: Study of Liriope graminifolia yielded various bioactive compounds.
Compound 1 showed strong anti-tumor activities against human cervical carcinoma; compound 7 had moderate anti-tumor activities against human cervical carcinoma (Hela) and human hepatocellular carcinoma (SMMC-7721; compound 5 had antiproliferative activity to human cervical carcinoma (Hela). (see constituents above)    (10)


Updated November 2019 / July 2017 / December 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph / Liriope graminifolia / © Plant Delights Nursery, Inc. / Click on image to go to source page / PLANT DELIGHTS NURSERY, INC.
IMAGE SOURCE: Digitally modified by G. Stuart / Liriope graminifolia: Bot. Reg. 593 / 1821 / Families of Flowering Plants / L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz / Delta IntKey

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Liriope graminifolia / Aussie Gardening
Novel steroidal saponins from Liriope graminifolia (Linn.) Baker with anti-tumor activities / Wang KW, Zhang H, Shen LQ, Wang W. / Carbohydr Res. 2011 Feb 1;346(2):253-8. Epub 2010 Nov 21.
Hemodynamic effects of a water soluble extract of Liriope spicata Lour on anesthetized cats / GY Gao, CX Li et al / hongguo Zhong yao za zh,
Vol 14, Pp: 552-4, 575
Antioxidant activities of methanolic and hot-water extracts from leaves of three cultivars of Mai-Men-Dong (Liriope spicata L.) / Wen-Chi Hou, Wen-Chung Wu et al / Bot. Bull. Acad. Sin. (2004) 45: 285-290
Studies on the Chemical Constitents of Liriope Graminifolia (L.) Baker
/ Cancer Research
A novel C27-steroidal glycoside sulfate from Liriope graminifolia
/ Wang KW, Ju XY, Zhang L, Wang W, Shen LQ / Yao xue xue bao / Acta pharmaceutica Sinica, May 2012; 47(5): pp 619-623 / PubMed ID 228
Liriope graminifolia (L.) Baker / Chinese name / Catalogue of Life, China
Liriope graminifolia (L.) Baker / Synonyms / The Plant List
Studies on the Chemical Constituents of Liriope Graminifolia (L.) Baker / China Papers

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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