Asparagus (genus)

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Asparagus
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Liliopsida
Order:Asparagales
Family:Asparagaceae
Genus:Asparagus
Species

See text

Asparagus is the name of a genus of plants, a member of the family Asparagaceae (formerly placed in the Liliaceae). There are more than 120 species, all from the Old World, introduced in many countries in both hemisphere and throughout temperate and tropical regions. Many species from Africa are now included in the genera Protasparagus and Myrsiphyllum

Contents

Description

They range from herbs to somewhat woody climbers. Three are dioecious species, i.e. with male and female flowers (Asparagus officinalis, Asparagus schoberioides and Asparagus cochinchinensis). The others are hermaphrodites.

The best known member of the genus is the vegetable asparagus (Asparagus officinalis).

Other species of asparagus are grown as ornamental plants. Some species such as Asparagus setaceus have branches that resemble 'ferns', hence they are often called Asparagus fern (though they are not true ferns). They are often used for foliage display, and as houseplants.

They have flattened stems (phylloclades), that serve the function of leaves.

Commonly-grown ornamental species are Asparagus plumosus, Asparagus densiflorus, and Asparagus sprengerii. Some other species have become introduced weeds.

Species

  • Asparagus aethiopicus (= Protasparagus aethiopicus)
  • Asparagus africanus (= Protasparagus africanus ?) : African Asparagus
  • Asparagus asparagoides ( = Myrsiphyllum asparagoides) : Smilax, African Asparagus Fern, (Austr.) Bridal Creeper
  • Asparagus cochinchinensis
  • Asparagus declinatus : Foxtail Asparagus Fern, (Austr.) Bridal vein
  • Asparagus densiflorus (= Protasparagus densiflorus) : Ground Asparagus, Asparagus Fern, (S. Afr.) (S. Afr.) Emerald Fern, Basket Asparagus
    • Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri' ( = Protasparagus densiflorus 'Sprenger' ) : Sprenger's Asparagus Fern
  • Asparagus falcatus
  • Asparagus macowanii (= Protasparagus macowanii)
  • Asparagus officinalis : Asparagus
    • Asparagus officinalis officinalis : Garden Asparagus
    • Asparagus officinalis prostratus :
  • Asparagus plumosus (= Protasparagus plumosus ?) : Asparagus Fern, Florist's Fern, (Austr.) Climbing Asparagus
  • Asparagus racemosus
  • Asparagus scandens
  • Asparagus schoberioides
  • Asparagus setaceus (= Protasparagus setaceus) : Fern Asparagus, Lace Fern
  • Asparagus umbellatus
  • Asparagus virgatus

Diseases of Asparagus

  • Fusarium root and crown rot : caused by two species of fungi : Fusarium monoliforme and Fusarium oxysporium asparagi.
  • Asparagus rust : caused by the fungus Puccinia asparagi
  • Botrytis blight : caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea.

Pests

  • Asparagus Beetle
  • Spotted Asparagus Beetle (Crioceris asparagi)
  • Asparagus fern Caterpillar, (Am.) Beet Armyworm : caterpillar of the butterfly Spodoptera exigua
  • Asparagus Fly : Platyparaea poeciloptera, a fruit fly.

Reference

Fellingham, A.C. & Meyer, N.L. 1995. New combinations and a complete list of Asparagus species in southern Africa (Asparagaceae). Bothalia 25: 205-209

External link

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