Anthericum unilineatum Poelln.
Asphodeloides ramosa Moench
Asphodelus davei Sennen
Asphodelus dunensis Sennen
Asphodelus intermedius Hornem.
Asphodelus madeirensis Simon
Asphodelus microcarpus Rchb.
Asphodelus parviflorus Wight
Glyphosperma palmeri S.Watson
Ophioprason fistulosum (L.) Salisb.
Verinea fistulosa (L.) Pomel
Common Name: Onionweed
Flowering plant, growing near Dubrovnik, Croatia in early spring.
Photograph by: Fan of Zhirkov
Asphodelus fistulosus is an annual to short-lived perennial plant growing from a tuberous rootstock. It produces a cluster of onion-like leaves up to 35cm long and one or more flowering stems up to 70cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine. It is grown as an ornamental in gardens.
Asphodelus fistulosus is a widespread herb that is common, and in some areas weedy in its natural range and has a large extent of occurrence. The population is currently believed to be stable and no real threats are known at present. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
The plant produces large quantities of seed that leads to the rapid establishment of large populations. It has escaped from cultivation and is naturalized across North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, tropical Asia and the British Isles. In the United States, where it is commonly known as Onionweed, it occurs in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. It can be controlled by cultivation since it does not grow well on land that is regularly worked. It has been listed as a noxious weed in Australia[
Macaronesia; throughout the Mediterranean region; Arabian Peninsula, plus a report that it is also native in Mauritius.
Dry sandy or rocky places[
] in fields, track-sides and uncultivated ground[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Asphodelus fistulosus is not very cold hardy, tolerating occasional lows to around -5 to -10°c in winter so long as the soil is well-drained[
]. This has contributed to the mistaken belief that it is an annual. A covering of bracken overwinter is usually ample protection for the plant to survive several more degrees of frost[
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil, tolerating partial shade[
]. Requires a well-drained soil. Prefers a deep rich sandy loamy soil[
]. Prefers a sunny position in a soil that is not too rich[
]. Grows well on hot dry banks[
This species is often a short-lived perennial[
The flowers are sweetly scented[
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
Root - cooked.[
] The root is fibrous according to one report[
] whilst another says that the swollen root has radical root fibres[
The plant is eaten as a vegetable, records of 'edible bulbs' seem to be erroneous[
The plant has a tuberous rootstock, producing with us a cluster of tubers about 1cm in diameter and up to 20cm long[
The seed is diuretic[
]. It is also applied externally to ulcers and inflamed parts of the body[
The seed contains oils rich in linoleic acid and are of value in preventing atherosclerosis[
Seed - sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place in 1 - 3 months at 15°c[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. When the plants are large enough to handle, plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer.
Division in early spring or autumn[
]. Since the plant tends to be short-lived, this method may not be very profitable.