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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 24 | Liliaceae | Asparagus

27. Asparagus officinalis Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 313. 1753.

石刁柏 shi diao bai

Asparagus officinalis var. altilis Linnaeus; A. polyphyllus Steven.

Herbs dioecious. Roots 2--3 mm thick, rather slender. Stems suberect, to 1 m, usually slightly pendent apically; branches soft. Cladodes in fascicles of 3--6, 0.5--3 cm × ca. 0.4 mm, subterete, slightly flattened, irregularly grooved. Leaf spur slightly spinescent or indistinct. Inflorescences developing after cladodes. Flowers of both sexes solitary of in clusters of 2--4; pedicel 0.8--1.2(--1.4) cm. Male flowers: perianth yellowish green, campanulate, 5--6 mm; filaments adnate to perianth segments for ca. 1/2 their length; anthers 1--1.5 mm. Female flowers: perianth ca. 3 mm. Berry red, 7--8 mm in diam., 2- or 3-seeded. Fl. May--Jun, fr. Aug. 2 n = 20*, 40.

Steppes. NW Xinjiang [Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia; NW Africa, C and SW Asia, Europe, widely cultivated elsewhere].

A very variable species; some cultivars are grown as a vegetable in China.


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