Asparagus flagellaris – Herb garden

Asparagus flagellaris is the popular erect shrub plant. Its branches terete or grooved, smooth to lined with straight or curved spines, these also on terminal branches, glabrous to pubescent. The flowers are axillary, solitary or paired, bracts overlapping, ovate, acute at apex, pedicels, articulated below the middle, closer to the base, and tepals are white to purple. It produces orange-red berry 6-9 mm in diameter with seeds. Asparagus flagellaris are collected from the wild for local use as food and medicine.

Scientific classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Asparagoideae
Genus: Asparagus
Species: A. flagellaris
Scientific Name: Asparagus flagellaris (Kunth) Baker
Common Name: Wild asparagus, Asperge sauvage.
Synonyms: Asparagopsis flagellaris, Asparagus abyssinicus, Asparagus pauli-guilelmi, Asparagus schweinfurthii, Asparagus somalensis.

How to grow and care for Asparagus flagellaris

Light:

It requires bright indirect light or filtered sun. Avoid direct hot afternoon sun which may cause the leaves to yellow. Tolerates full shade, but foliage may turn a lighter green.

Soil:

It grows well in organically rich, evenly moist, well-drained soils.

Temperature:

It thrives well in ideal temperature between 68°F – 72°F during daytime and temperature 50°F – 55°F for night time.

Water:

Water regularly during the growing season (from spring to autumn), Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Allow the top one inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Water sparingly in winter, but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Fertilizer:

Fertilize monthly spring through fall with a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted by half.

Propagation:

It can be easily propagated by seed or division. The best time to propagate an Asparagus flagellaris is in the spring before it starts producing new growth. Soak seeds for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring. It germinates in three to six weeks at 25°c.

Pruning:

Prune back stem tips as expected to maintain plant form and promote dense foliage growth. If the plant loses its attractive shape, stems may be cut back close to the soil level to regenerate.

Re-potting:

Re-pot in the standard potting soil when roots push through the top of the soil and the drainage hole. Always use a pot one size larger or you can just prune the roots.

Pests and Diseases:

It is susceptible to Mealy Bugs, spider mites, aphids, scale, and thrips. Leaf spot and rots may occur. It does not like pesticides so use a mild solution of insecticidal soap to get rid of plant pests.

Benefits of Asparagus flagellaris

  • The shoot-tips of Asparagus flagellaris are eaten as a vegetable and the edible fruit are juicy orange berries with a sweet taste. The fleshy tubers are edible after several hours of cooking.
  • Asparagus flagellaris is used as a diuretic and laxative. It is used in various ways as a treatment against syphilis, gonorrhea, and other sexually transmitted diseases, either being macerated and then decocted and drunk, added to food, or used in baths.
  • The seeds are swallowed to prevent eye diseases
  • The roots are boiled, mixed with milk, and given to women immediately after childbirth to release the afterbirth and the root are chewed, or macerated and gargled, as a remedy for throat troubles.
  • The branchlets, stems, or roots are pounded, soaked in water and the infusion drunk 2 – 3 times a day for the treatment of mental
    disturbance.
  • The leaves are used in ointments by native women to stimulate the growth of hair.

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