Asparagopsis adscendens (Roxb.) Kunth
Asparagus satawur James A.Murray
Protasparagus adscendens (Roxb.) Kamble
Asparagus adscendens is a prickly, evergreen scrambling, perennial plant growing from a tuberous rootstock. It has wiry stems that become more or less woody and can persist for several years.
The plant is harvested from the wild for mainly local use as a food and a medicine.
E. Asia - Afghanistan, Pakistan, western Himalayas
Found especially in Sal forests in Uttar Pradesh. Found at elevations of 600 - 1,200 metres in the Himalayas
We hve no specific information for this plant, but species in this genus are generally easily grown in any good garden soil[
]. Prefers a rich sandy loam[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
The plant is a source of a nutritious starch that can be used like salep (which is obtained from various species of orchid)[
]. The white tuber is harvested in the autumn and dried. When required for use it is ground into a powder and about 200g placed in a cup with sugar according to taste. Hot water or milk is poured slowly over the powder, stirring all the time. The powder swells and the resulting drink has an agreeable, mucilaginous taste that was generally relished by Europeans living in India in the 19th century[
The young shoots are probably edible, used like asparagus[
The roots are demulcent, diaphoretic, galactogogue and stimulant[
]. They are useful in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery and general debility[
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.