This species is closely allied to Asparagus cochinchinensis, and can only be distinguished by a combination of characters[
Asparagopsis abyssinica Kunth
Asparagopsis acerosa Kunth
Asparagopsis brownei Kunth
Asparagopsis decaisnei Kunth
Asparagopsis floribunda Kunth
Asparagopsis hohenackeri Kunth
Asparagopsis javanica Kunth
Asparagopsis retrofracta Schweinf. ex Baker
Asparagopsis sarmentosa Dalzell & A.Gibson
Asparagopsis subquadrangularis Kunth
Asparagus acerosus Roxb.
Asparagus dubius Decne.
Asparagus fasciculatus R.Br.
Asparagus jacquemontii Baker
Asparagus penduliflorus Zipp. ex Span.
Asparagus petitianus A.Rich.
Asparagus stachyoides Spreng. ex Baker
Asparagus tetragonus Bresler
Asparagus zeylanicus (Baker) Hook.f.
Protasparagus jacquemontii (Baker) Kamble
Protasparagus racemosus (Willd.) Oberm.
Protasparagus zeylanicus (Hook.f.) Kamble
Common Name: Shatavari
Photograph by: S.K. Gawali
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Shatavari is a perennial, usually climbing, plant producing stems up to 7 metres tall from a tuberous rootstock.
A famous Ayurvedic medicinal herb, it is said to be particularly useful as a women's herb. It is commonly harvested from the wild to the extent that overcollection in some areas of its range are causing conservation concerns[
Widespread from tropical Africa through Arabia, tropical Asia to northern Australia
Found at elevations up to 1,200 metres in the Himalayas, eastwards from Kashmir[
]. Broad-leaved forests along streams or valleys at elevations of 2,100 - 2,200 metres in western China[
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Found in the subtropics to tropics, but usually avoiding the wetter regions. It requires a distinct dry season in order to flourish[
]. It is not very frost-hardy and generally needs to be grown in a frost-free or fairly frost-free climate[
]. It can be grown as a half-hardy perennial in areas where the winter is too cold for it to survive outdoors. The tubers are harvested in the autumn, stored in a cool frost-free place and replanted in the spring[
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.
Tender young shoots - cooked as a vegetable[
]. A preserve prepared from the blanched shoots is said to be very agreeable[
The tuber are candied as a sweetmeat[
]. The only flavour is said to be that of the sugar[
]. The roots are 5 - 13cm long[
Shatavari (this is an Indian word meaning 'a woman who has a hundred husbands') is the most important herb in Ayurvedic medicine for dealing with problems connected women's fertility[
]. The rhizome is a soothing tonic that acts mainly on the circulatory, digestive, respiratory and female reproductive organs[
The root is alterative, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, demulcent, diuretic, galactagogue and refrigerant[
]. It is taken internally in the treatment of infertility, loss of libido, threatened miscarriage, menopausal problems, hyperacidity, stomach ulcers and bronchial infections[
]. Externally it is used to treat stiffness in the joints[
]. The root is used fresh in the treatment of dysentery. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for use in treating other complaints[
The whole plant is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, rheumatism, diabetes and brain complaints[
The squeezed root is used for washing clothes[
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.