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Herbs, shrubs, or vines, perennial, from rhizomes, usually with fusiform tubers, often with fernlike appearance. Stems photosynthetic, erect, spreading or climbing, branched; cladophylls solitary or fasciculate, in nodes of reduced, scarious leaves. Leaves small, scale-like, membranous, or sometimes spiny with hardened base, subtending cladophylls. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, racemose, or umbellate, paired or solitary; racemes short. Flowers bisexual or unisexual; perianth greenish, white, or yellowish, campanulate to rotate; tepals 6, distinct or shortly connate basally, equal; stamens 6, distinct, equal; anthers versatile, 2-locular, dehiscence introrse; ovary superior, 3-locular, septal nectaries present; style 3-branched distally; pedicel with conspicuous joint. Fruits baccate, red or purplish black, globose, often with tepals persisting at base. Seeds 1-6, black, globose to angular. x = 10.

Species 170-300: introduced; Europe, Asia, Africa; some widely introduced, expected elsewhere.

Asparagus is a moderately important horticultural genus, with one species commonly grown for its edible young shoots and a number of others grown ornamentally. The genus is treated here in a broad sense (K. Kubitzki and P. J. Rudall 1998; W. S. Judd 2001) and encompasses species that have been segregated in several genera (A. L. Takhtajan 1997; S. T. Malcomber and Sebsebe D. 1993). Embryological features (P. J. Rudall et al. 1998) and DNA-based analyses (M. W. Chase et al. 1996; M. F. Fay et al. 2000; P. J. Rudall et al. 1997) support the monophyly of Asparagus and the Asparagaceae.[1]


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The Genus Asparagus is a member of the Family Asparagaceae. Here is the complete "parentage" of Asparagus:

The Genus Asparagus is further organized into finer groupings including:


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  1. Gerald B. Straley  & Frederick H. Utech "Asparagus". in Flora of North America Vol. 26 Page 20, 50, 53, 54, 213. Oxford University Press. Online at


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Last Revised: August 27, 2014
2014/08/27 05:20:09