Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What is the difference between a pip and a plant?

Q. Most other sellers represent the dwarf mondo in quantities of PIPs. Could you tell me the difference between your bare root mondo plants and PIPs?

A. "Pip" is probably derived from the word, "pippin", which refers to a small seed or a plant grown from a seed. Some old apple varieties are known as pippins. There are several definitions of "pip." The one you have in mind is: "a single rootstock or flower of lily-of-the-valley, peony, etc." (Webster's New World Dictionary, The World Publishing Co., NY.)

Many plants such as lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria), liriope and mondo (Ophiopogon) produce new plants as offshoots from their bases. As many offshoots are produced a clump is formed. The offshoots are complete plants with roots and leaves, can be divided from the parent plants when mature and safely planted elsewhere. I've produced a Youtube video that demonstrates the process.

Another similar word used less frequently is "bib", which is probably a corruption of "pip." I don't use "pip" or "bib" very much any more because they are obscure, except among some gardeners. So to promote clarity, I refer to small single rootstocks as offshoots, divisions or simply as plants.

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