Many of us have the recipes with asparagus but few of us know the plant all, much more complex than the sprout that we find on the plate. There asparagus plant it is also known by the name of asparagine, we do not eat but we can find it used for aesthetic purposes, to embellish bouquets of flowers, for example.
The plants of the genus Asparagus they belong to the Asparagaceae family, most of them are climbers, they can come from Europe but also from Asia and Africa, mainly from sandy areas.
They are plants perennial sufruticose (which have only the woody basal part as the new shoots are herbaceous), bushy provided with rhizome which is nothing more than the stem transformed into a reserve organ that allows the plant to survive even in extreme cultivation conditions (cold and drought).
Asparagus plant: characteristics
Let's start with the roots, which can be fleshy or fibrous. From them they depart the buds and then the shoots, initially unique and green. As they grow, however, they become real branches, more rigid, they can reach heights of one meter and constitute the vegetative part of the plant. The spines and false leaves that sprout from the branches, which are called leaves, are also part of the plant cladodes and they look more like needles, a few millimeters pointed spines. There is also the fruit which is in fact one berry with many small black seeds triangular, shiny black inside while outside it is red when it becomes ripe.
As we shall see, there are many species of Asparagus but they are almost all dioecious. We can therefore speak of plants with only male flowers and plants that bear only female flowers. In any case, they appear in summer, they are white, with pink or yellow shades, small in size and slightly scented. They look like little six-pointed stars.
Cultivation of asparagine
Bred and used for ornamental purposes, both in pots and in the garden,asparagine it is very simple to grow. The ideal temperature in which to keep it is around 15 ° C, it is a plant that loves sunlight, even if not direct, and cannot bear the cold. It does not withstand less than 7 ° C, also prefers well-ventilated places.
It should be watered generously in the flowering season, from spring to summer, with demineralized or rain water, and making sure to avoid water stagnation. In winter, watering must be almost zero, just keep the soil moist.
If we are growing the plant in a pot and it has become too big to be comfortable, we have to wait until spring and we can then repot it in a larger container, taking care to choose a soil based on peat mixed with sand, again to avoid water stagnation.
Always in spring, it is important fertilize the asparagus, with liquid products that must be mixed with irrigation water. There is no need to fertilize in the other months of the year. The most suitable fertilizer for asparagus and other similar plants is the one with a high nitrogen content because it favors the development of green parts.
A plant like that of asparagus cannot be pruned, just eliminate the leaves that dry up with the passage of time, or that they get sick. It is not important to identify the flowering period because it is not the flowers that interest us: they are small and insignificant, certainly not particularly showy.
Among the approximately three hundred species that belong to this genus, here are some of the most significant. Let's start with what we call asparagine, there. Plumosus or Setaceus, resembling ferns, with small triangular geometry leaves, which resemble a lace. This plant is evergreen, dioecious, does not withstand the cold, is used to accompany bouquets of cut flowers and even reaches three meters in height if climbing. There are numerous varieties of this species including compactus, nanus and pyramidalis.
It is widely cultivated in pots A. Sprengeri, with deep green needle-like leaves and very small pale pink and fragrant flowers, and then there is theA. Asparagoides, climbing sheep that reaches up to 2 m in length with small, heart-shaped leaves and white flowers.
What about theAsparagus falcatus? This species even reaches 5 meters in height if it climbs and its leaves can measure 5 centimeters in length. Birds love this plant very much, they nest inside it, even those who follow traditional medicine look for it because of the dried roots which have interesting properties. I'm antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, diuretic, expectorant, stomachic.
Another species is the Acutifolius, full of thorns and also called prickly or thorny asparagus, and then there is Densiflorus, a small perennial species that can also be used to create cushions or to decorate hanging baskets. It produces the classic pink-white flowers, slightly scented.
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