Asphodelus delphinensis Gren. & Godr.
Asphodelus deseglisei Jord. & Fourr.
Asphodelus major Pourr. ex Willk. & Lange
Asphodelus occidentalis Jord.
Asphodelus ramosus albus (Mill.) Baker
Asphodelus simplex Pers.
Asphodelus sphaerocarpus Gren. & Godr.
Asphodelus subalpinus Gren. & Godr.
Common Name: Asphodel
Flowering plant at the Botanical Garden KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany
Photograph by: H. Zell
Asphodelus albus is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a tuberous rootstock. It produces a cluster of narrow leaves up to 60cm long and one or more, usually unbranched flowering stems up to 100cm tall[
The plant is mainly used as an ornamental, valued especially for its attractive flowering display. It has in the past been used as a food and medicine, whilst the roots have been fermented to produce an alcohol.
The root is poisonous[
Southern Europe. - western France to central Spain and the Italian Alps
Ploughed fields, rough ground[
], dry hills and mountain meadows[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Plants are hardy to about -15°c[
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil, tolerating partial shade[
]. Requires a well-drained soil and a sheltered position[
]. Prefers a deep rich sandy loamy soil[
]. Prefers a soil that is not too rich and a sunny position[
]. Grows well on hot dry banks and in thin grass[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
The root was at one time eaten as a food but, since it contains the alkaloid asphodeline, this is not really very advisable[
The tubers are antidermatosic, detergent, emollient and vulnerary[
]. They are mainly used externally in the treatment of skin conditions and for lightening freckles[
]. They have also been employed internally as a cough remedy[
The tubers are harvested in the spring and dried for later use[
Use internally with caution, especially if you are suffering from nephritis or gastritis[
An alcohol can be obtained from the fermented roots[
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[