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Asparagus

Edible Edible Spring Spring

Wild Asparagus is mainly the escaped cultivated plant but a few different varieties can grow in the UK. There is also confusion over whether Asparagus officinalis sub prostratus is a sub species or a separate species itself and grows prostrate along the ground, otherwise it looks like A. officinalis. Although edible Wild Asparagus is on the endangered list and should be admired rather than picked.
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/a-helping-hand-for-the-wild-asparagus-

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Asparagus, Sparrow Grass
Scientific Name Asparagus officinalis, Asparagus prostratus
Season Start Mar
Season End May
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Leaves

The leaves look feathery but are needle like and can feel quite sharp and are not actually true leaves but a modified stem, pictured. The true leaves are the small triangular scale like structures on the young spears and stems.

Flowers

The flowers are bell-shaped, greenish-white to yellow and are produced singly or in clusters of two or three in the junctions of the branches. Later in the year toxic red berries are produced.

Fruit

Toxic red berries ripen in Autumn but start green earlier in the year.

Stem

In its wild shrub like form, the stem is woody and at the base of young growth there should be dry triangular leaf scales.

Habitat

Wood edges, gardens, waste ground and soil with a salt content, ie; coastal or alongside roads that are gritted.

Possible Confusion

There are a few spikey shrubs that look similar but none grow asparagus spears from them.

Taste

Asparagus.

Frequency

Occasional.

Collecting

As it is an endangered species only small amounts of asparagus tips should be harvested when a fully grown shrub is encountered, these ‘tips’ grow along the stem and will open out into what look like leaves if left to grow.

Medicinal Uses

Asparagus can be used as a diuretic, a laxative or a kidney tonic.

Other Facts

Traditionally used as an aphrodisiac.

COMMENTS

3 comments for Asparagus

  1. Lindsey Brown says:

    I would love to grow wild asparagus. . What conditions does the plant need?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      It’s better to start asparagus under glass although it will grow in soil outside. It takes a year for the bulb to form so as long as you are patient after a couple of years you should get some asparagus growing.

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