Asparagus officinalis (Asparagus)
A welcome roadside sight to any forager, asparagus can be found in parts of Asia, Africa, North and South America, and most of Europe. It is grown domestically, and can be harvested from the wild during spring. This lovely plant was featured in–and provided the title to–Stalking the Wild Asparagus, the memoir/guidebook by legendary forager Euell Gibbons. It has been used as a food and medicinal plant by several North American native tribes, including the Cherokee, Iroquois, and Isleta.
Two vegetable beds dedicated to asparagus are between the apiary and the west garden entrance.
Common Name: Asparagus
Scientific Name: Asparagus officinalis
Plant Family: Liliaceae/ Asparagaceae
Edible Parts: Young stalks
Documented medicinal Uses: External antirheumetic, infusion for treatment of rickets, Iroquois blood medicine. Clinical trials suggest ingestion of asparagus may be effective in the treatment of hypertension, hyperglycemia, and dyslipidemia.
Etymology: Asparagus— Persian asparag, Gr. asparagos,“sprout, shoot”; officinalis, L.”of the dispensary.”
Designing with this Plant
USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-8
Forest Garden Layer: Herbaceous layer
Sources and More Information
“Asparagus officinalis.” IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Link
Aspargus officinalis, Native American Ethnobotany Database. Link
“Asparagus officinalis.” Kew Science Plants of the World Online. Link
“Asparagus.” Temperate Climate Permaculture. Link
Nishimura et al. “Improvement of Blood Pressure, Glucose Metabolism, and Lipid Profile by the Intake of Powdered Asparagus (蘆筍 Lú Sǔn) Bottom-stems and Cladophylls.” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 3. 2013. Link