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Asparagus officinalis L.

 

Asparagus officinalis L.

Family

Liliaceae

Synonyms

None

Vernacular Names

Malaysia/Indonesia Asparagus.
English Asparagus.
Thailand Nomai-farang.
Philippines Asparago (Tagalog).
Cambodia Tum'-peang barang.
Vietnam M[aw]ng t[aa]y.
French Asperge.

Geographical Distributions

The origin of Asparagus officinalis is believed to be the eastern Mediterranean; however, it grows wild in Europe, the Caucasus and western Siberia. It is also naturalised in the Americas and New Zealand, and now occurs as a crop plant worldwide. In Southeast Asia, it is found mainly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Description

Asparagus officinalis is a herbaceous, dioecious, climbing or erect perennial which can grow up to 2 m tall, and with a robust woody rhizome comprising a number of bud clusters and many long (1.5-2 m) unbranched, fleshy storage roots.

The young stem is fleshy when still underground. The stem above ground is strongly branched and with fine, needle-like foliage.

The true leaves are reduced to minute bract-like triangular brownish scales. In the axils of the scales, there are 3-6 subterete, green, needle-like, thin branchlets (cladodes), measuring 1-2 cm long, which seem to represent the leaves.

The flowers are solitary or in pairs in the leaf axils, unisexual, small, tubular-bell-shaped and pendulous. The tepals measure 6-8 mm long in male and 4-6 mm in female flowers.

The fruit is a spherical berry, red and 1-6-seeded. The seed is black.

Ecology / Cultivation

Asparagus officinalis does not seem to have a daylength response. Photosynthetic activity is observed to increase up to 300 W/m2 PAR (Physiologically-Active Radiation) as in most C3 plants. The optimum temperature for dry matter accumulation is 25-30°C, but the optimum temperature for the accumulation of food reserves in the roots may be slightly lower. High relative humidity is a distinct disadvantage due to the problems of foliage diseases. The crop can be successfully produced at low altitudes even in the tropics, though spear quality may not be as high as those produced at higher altitudes. Absence of frost during the growing season is important. Deep, well-drained sandy loams or volcanic soils are preferable, with adequate supply of nutrients, particularly nitrogen and potassium. Asparagus is able to grow in a very wide range of pH, though 5.8—6.5 is deemed optimum.

 

Line Drawing / Photograph

Asparagus_officinalis

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  1) Safety

References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 8: Vegetables.

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