Asparagus aetnensis Tornab.
Asparagus ambiguus De Not.
Asparagus brevifolius Tornab.
Asparagus commutatus Ten.
Asparagus corruda Scop.
Asparagus inarimensis Tornab.
Asparagus acutifolius is a herbaceous perennial climbing plant producing wiry stems up to 2 metres tall that can become somewhat woody at their base[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is considered by some to be a gourmet's form of asparagus, though others dismiss it as thin, bitter and stringy.
Europe - Mediterranean regions in the north from Spain to Greece and Turkey, in the south from Morocco to Libya, and the various islands.
Bushy and dry sunny places, mainly on limestone[
Asparagus acutifolius is native to the Mediterranean region, with its hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters. It can tolerate winter temperatures dipping occasionally to between -5 and -10°c and grows well in the milder regions of the temperate zone[
]. The young growth in spring however, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[
An easily grown plant, succeeding in any good garden soil[
]. Prefers a rich sandy loam[
]. Plants tolerate considerable neglect on our Cornish trial grounds[
]. Plants are very tolerant of maritime exposure[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Young shoots - cooked[
]. Tender and, when cooked, of a peculiar, aromatic flavour. An asparagus substitute, it is preferred by gourmets for its stronger flavour[
]. Excellent when seasoned with oil and lemon juice[
]. Thin, bitter and often stringy according to another report[
]. Very aromatic[
]. A uniquely bitter aromatic flavour[
]. The new shoots are rather thin and are not produced in abundance[
Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring or as soon as the seed is ripe in early autumn in a greenhouse. It usually germinates in 3 - 6 weeks at 25°c[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a sunny position in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer[
Division in early spring as the plant comes into growth.