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Useful Temperate Plants

Asphodelus fistulosus

L.

Xanthorrhoeaceae

+ Synonyms

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

Asphodelus fistulosus
Flowering plant, growing near Dubrovnik, Croatia in early spring.
Photograph by: Fan of Zhirkov
Creative Commons License
Asphodelus fistulosus Asphodelus fistulosus Asphodelus fistulosus Asphodelus fistulosus Asphodelus fistulosus Asphodelus fistulosus

General Information

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[
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 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)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
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[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

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

Macaronesia; throughout the Mediterranean region; Arabian Peninsula, plus a report that it is also native in Mauritius.

Habitat

Dry sandy or rocky places[
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.
] in fields, track-sides and uncultivated ground[
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.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitAnnual/Perennial
Height0.60 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

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[
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.
]. 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[
42
Title
Hardy Bulbs.
Publication
 
Author
Grey. C. H.
Publisher
Williams & Norgate.
Year
1938
ISBN
-
Description
Rather dated now, but an immense work on bulbs for temperate zones and how to grow them. Three large volumes.
].
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil, tolerating partial shade[
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.
]. Requires a well-drained soil. Prefers a deep rich sandy loamy soil[
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]).
,
42
Title
Hardy Bulbs.
Publication
 
Author
Grey. C. H.
Publisher
Williams & Norgate.
Year
1938
ISBN
-
Description
Rather dated now, but an immense work on bulbs for temperate zones and how to grow them. Three large volumes.
]. Prefers a sunny position in a soil that is not too rich[
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.
]. Grows well on hot dry banks[
42
Title
Hardy Bulbs.
Publication
 
Author
Grey. C. H.
Publisher
Williams & Norgate.
Year
1938
ISBN
-
Description
Rather dated now, but an immense work on bulbs for temperate zones and how to grow them. Three large volumes.
].
This species is often a short-lived perennial[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].
The flowers are sweetly scented[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
].
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
].

Edible Uses

Root - cooked.[
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.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
] The root is fibrous according to one report[
100
Title
Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1969
ISBN
0192176218
Description
An excellent and well illustrated pocket guide for those with very large pockets. Also gives some details on plant uses.
] whilst another says that the swollen root has radical root fibres[
42
Title
Hardy Bulbs.
Publication
 
Author
Grey. C. H.
Publisher
Williams & Norgate.
Year
1938
ISBN
-
Description
Rather dated now, but an immense work on bulbs for temperate zones and how to grow them. Three large volumes.
].
The plant is eaten as a vegetable, records of 'edible bulbs' seem to be erroneous[
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
].
The plant has a tuberous rootstock, producing with us a cluster of tubers about 1cm in diameter and up to 20cm long[
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

The seed is diuretic[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
]. It is also applied externally to ulcers and inflamed parts of the body[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
].
The seed contains oils rich in linoleic acid and are of value in preventing atherosclerosis[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

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[
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.
]. 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[
111
Title
Popular Hardy Perennials.
Publication
 
Author
Sanders. T. W.
Publisher
Collingridge
Year
1926
ISBN
-
Description
A fairly wide range of perennial plants that can be grown in Britain and how to grow them.
]. Since the plant tends to be short-lived, this method may not be very profitable.

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