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Asparagus

Edible Edible Spring Spring

Wild Asparagus is really 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.

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.

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

If you know where last years asparagus was growing from look for the fresh spears emerging from the ground from March to June or although much smaller, sometimes the upright tips grow from the branchlets and look and taste just like small cultivated asparagus and can be cooked and eaten in the same way later in the year.

Medicinal Uses

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

Other Facts

Traditionally used as an aphrodisiac.

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