Monday, May 10, 2010

Asparagus - Ornamental Asparagus

This is so new for the landscape trade in temperate climates that even I wasn't aware of these fine cool climates relatives of the "Commercial Eating Asparagus" until this past summer. The roots are wide-spreading and do not like competition so it is best to plant the Asparagus where they do not get competition from turf, tree roots or weeds. All species prefer mulched, deep, fertile soil and are very drought tolerant.
They grow especially well if fed with manure twice yearly.
The Asparagus are easy to grow from seed.

* photo taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on June 30 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC


Asparagus conchinchinensis ( Chinese Asparagus )
A very attractive relative of the "Grocery Market Asparagus" that makes a great landscape plant. It forms a perennial, reaching up to 6.5 feet, that is native from much of southern China to Korea to Japan; south to Laos and Vietnam to the Phillipines. It is usually found in coastal areas.
The linear leaves are up to 0.8 x 0.1 inches in size. The foliage is glossy bright green.
The tiny white flowers, up to 0.2 inches long, appear late spring into early summer.
They are followed by berries, up to 0.3 inches wide.
Hardy zones 6 to 9 ( possibly 4 and 5 with mulch or winter snow cover )

* photos taken on May 8 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


Asparagus racemosus ( Kurilo )
An ornamental perennial plant native to rocky and gravelly soils of high plains in India and the Himalayas.
The plant itself reaches up to 6.5 feet with glossy green linear foliage.
The tiny white flowers in mid summer are followed by rounded purple-black berries.
It is a popular herbal tonic plant in India ( for more copy and paste this link from Alternative Health Guide...
http://www.alternative-healthguide.com/ayurveda/shatavari.htm )

* photos taken on May 8 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on June 30 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on Sep 3 2017 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


Asparagus schoberoides ( Siebold Asparagus )
Bushier and more weeping than the regular "vegetable garden" Asparagus; it is an attractive landscape plant that is native to Siberia, Sakhalin, Mongolia, Manchuria, Korea and Japan. Excellent for use trailing over a stone wall for softening effect. It can reach a maximum height of 3.3 feet.
The attractive glossy mid-green foliage turns intense golden-yellow during autumn. The linear leaves are up to 0.8 inches long.
The stalks are edible but very thin meaning it would take a whole lot of them to make a meal.
The tiny white flowers are borne late spring into early summer.
The scarlet-red berries contrast well with the fall color.
Both male and female plants will be needed to get the berries, however if in close proximity, you would only need 1 male plant to pollinate a whole bunch of females.
Hardy zones 3 to 7 full sun to partial shade on just about any well drained soil. Propagation is easily done from seed.

* photos taken on July 17 2010 @ Morris Arboretum, Philly, PA



Edible Asparagus ( Asparagus officinalis )
A rhizomatous perennial, reaching up to 6.5 feet in height. It is known to naturalize as far north as Lions Head and Haliburton in Ontario. It is often found on sandy roadsides in the wild.
The linear to lance-shaped leaves, up to 1 inch in length, are glossy bright green.
The greenish-yellow, funnel-shaped flowers are up to 0.2 inches in length.
They are followed by rounded, scarlet-red berries up to 0.3 inches wide.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 in full sun on sandy, well drained soil. To harvest, cut shoots when they are a few inches tall as just below the soil level. They can be boiled approx 10 minutes until tender, or eaten fresh.

* photos taken on Sep 3 2012 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Sep 23 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Oct 21 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

* photo of unknown internet source

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