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Useful Temperate Plants

Asparagus acutifolius

L.

Asparagaceae

+ Synonyms

Asparagus aetnensis Tornab.

Asparagus ambiguus De Not.

Asparagus brevifolius Tornab.

Asparagus commutatus Ten.

Asparagus corruda Scop.

Asparagus inarimensis Tornab.

Common Name:

Asparagus acutifolius
Young shoot in spring
Photograph by: Javier martin
Public domain
Asparagus acutifolius Asparagus acutifolius Asparagus acutifolius Asparagus acutifolius Asparagus acutifolius Asparagus acutifolius

General Information

Asparagus acutifolius is a herbaceous perennial climbing plant producing wiry stems up to 2 metres tall that can become somewhat woody at their base[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
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.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

50
Title
Flora Europaea
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1964
ISBN
-
Description
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for Europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Europe - Mediterranean regions in the north from Spain to Greece and Turkey, in the south from Morocco to Libya, and the various islands.

Habitat

Bushy and dry sunny places, mainly on limestone[
45
Title
Flowers of Greece and the Balkans.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1980
ISBN
0-19-217626-9
Description
A good pocket flora, it also lists quite a few plant uses.
,
89
Title
Flowers of the Mediterranean.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O. and Huxley. A.
Publisher
Hogarth Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7012-0784-1
Description
A very readable pocket flora that is well illustrated. Gives some information on plant uses.
,
132
Title
Fruits of the Earth.
Publication
 
Author
Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Lovely pictures, a very readable book.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Perennial
Height1.50 m
PollinatorsBees
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

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[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. 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[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
An easily grown plant, succeeding in any good garden soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prefers a rich sandy loam[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
]. Plants tolerate considerable neglect on our Cornish trial grounds[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Plants are very tolerant of maritime exposure[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.

Edible Uses

Young shoots - cooked[
22
Title
Alternative Foods.
Publication
 
Author
Sholto-Douglas. J.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Not very comprehensive, it seems more or less like a copy of earlier writings with little added.
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
]. Tender and, when cooked, of a peculiar, aromatic flavour. An asparagus substitute, it is preferred by gourmets for its stronger flavour[
132
Title
Fruits of the Earth.
Publication
 
Author
Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Lovely pictures, a very readable book.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Excellent when seasoned with oil and lemon juice[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Thin, bitter and often stringy according to another report[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
]. Very aromatic[
132
Title
Fruits of the Earth.
Publication
 
Author
Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Lovely pictures, a very readable book.
]. A uniquely bitter aromatic flavour[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The new shoots are rather thin and are not produced in abundance[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

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[
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
]. 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[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Division in early spring as the plant comes into growth.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2020-04-09. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Asparagus+acutifolius>

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