This species was long known as Asparagus stipularis Forssk., a name still used by some authors. We are following the treatment in the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families which recognizes the earlier naming of the plant as Asparagus horridus by Linnaeus in 1774[
Asparagus aphyllus stipularis (Forssk.) Baker
Asparagus horridus L.f.
Asparagus stipularis Forssk.
Cultivated plant in the Jardín Botánico del Albardinal de Rodalquilar, Nijar, Almería, Spain
Photograph by: Nachosan
Asparagus horridus is a very spiny, perennial plant with branched stems that become more or less woody. It grows up to 100cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Canary Islands, through the Mediterranean region to the Arabian Peninsula
Dry places, vineyards[
]. Dry rocky or sandy ground by the sea or on rocky slopes inland or more rarely in thin pine forests; mainly at low levels but occasionally ascending to 600 metres.
Asparagus horridus is native to the Mediterranean region, with its hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters. It can probably tolerate winter temperatures dipping occasionally to between -5 and -10°c and would probably succeed outdoors in the milder regions of the temperate zone[
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 need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.
]. No more details are given but it is likely that they are cooked and used like asparagus[
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.