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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)

Description

Herbaceous, dioecious, climbing or erect perennial monocot, up to 2 m tall, with a robust woody rhizome comprising a number of bud clusters (commonly referred to as a 'crown') and many long (1.5-2 m), unbranched, fleshy storage roots as well as fibrous roots. Young stem fleshy when still underground; aboveground stem strongly branched, with fine, needle-like foliage. True leaves reduced to minute bract-like triangular brownish scales; in the axils of the scales, three to six subterete, green, needle-like, thin branchlets (cladodes) 1-2 cm long are present and seem to represent the leaves. Flowers solitary or in pairs in the leaf-axils, unisexual, small, tubular-campanulate, pendulous; tepals 6-8 mm long in male, 4-6 mm long in female flowers. Fruit a globose berry, red, with one to six black seeds.

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