Asparagus officinalis L.
Asparagus officinalis L. ssp. officinalis
Asparagus, Wild Asparagus
Many of us think of asparagus as those short stalks, sublimely delicious or awful-tasting, depending on who you ask. These young stalks are harvested after the plants become well-established, leaving behind some to grow to maturity and continue to the next season. Mature asparagus reaches up to 5' (1.5 m) in height, with multiply-branched light, feathery foliage. Asparagus is a native of Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia.
Identification: Flowers are small and bell-shaped. Foliage is delicate-looking and resembles soft needles at close range.
Edibility: Young shoots are delicious. (Don’t eat the berries though.)
There is a recipe for cooking asparagus in the oldest surviving book of recipes, Apicius’s third century AD De re coquinaria, Book III. It was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who ate it fresh when in season and dried the vegetable for use in winter.
Asparagus officinalis at George and Audrey DeLange's Arizona wildflower site
Asparagus officinalis at the Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site
Asparagus officinalis on Missouriplants.com
Asparagus officinalis on Wikipedia
Asparagus officinalis on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
Asparagus officinalis on luirig.altervista.org
Asparagus officinalis on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network
Asparagus officinalis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.