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Products > Asparagus aphyllus
Asparagus aphyllus - Mediterranean Asparagus
Image of Asparagus aphyllus
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Asparagaceae (~Liliaceae)
Origin: Mediterranean (Europe)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 2-4 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
Asparagus aphyllus (Mediterranean Asparagus) - A rhizomatous perennial with tuberous roots and airy fernlike appearance to 2 to 3 feet tall and spreading slowly wider with tough wiry branching light-colored stems that hold thin green threadlike half inch long green leaves (technically cladodes) of unequal length decoratively arranged in a evenly spaced fascicles near the stem tips. In spring appear the tiny cream yellow flowers followed by fruit that turns reddish and then nearly black when ripe.

Plant in full sun to light shade in most any conditions and water occasionally to not at all once established. Thought to be hardy to 15-20° F and perhaps would come up from its tuberous roots in colder situations. This curious very dry growing plant can be used as an interesting specimen or even and open short hedge. It has short thorns on the stems, so is a bit rough to work with without gloves but is not dangerously so or really what one would consider to be wickedly thorny.

Asparagus aphyllus is naturally widely distributed in southwestern and southeastern Europe as well as in northern Africa and western Asia and is most abundant in southern Spain and Portugal. The name for the genus originates from the original Greek word 'asparagos' that was given to the cultivated asparagus. The specific epithet means without leaves as the pseudo leaves of this plant are actually considered to be flattened leaflike structures. It is also commonly called Prickly Asparagus and in Spanish is called Espárragos Portugueses.Our plants from seed collected on an old specimen near the Geology Department building at the University of California Santa Barbara. 

This information about Asparagus aphyllus displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.