[<< wikibooks] Horticulture/Asparagus
Asparagus is the name of a genus of plants, a member of the family Asparagaceae (formerly placed in the Liliaceae). There are up to 300 species, all from the Old World, introduced in many countries in both hemispheres and throughout temperate and tropical regions. Many species from Africa are now included in the genera Protasparagus and Myrsiphyllum.  However, recent studies have shown that the taxonomic level genera may not be appropriate; instead, division into subgenera or no division at all may be more appropriate.


== Description ==
They range from herbs to somewhat woody climbers. Most species have flattened stems (phylloclades), that serve the function of leaves. Three species (Asparagus officinalis, "Asparagus schoberioides and Asparagus cochinchinensis) are dioecious species, i.e. with male and female flowers on separate plants. The others may or may not be hermaphroditic.


== Growing conditions ==


== 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.) Emerald Fern, Basket Asparagus
Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri' ( = Protasparagus densiflorus 'Sprenger') - Sprenger's Asparagus
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 Plumosus Nanus is a greenhouse variety, bearing fern-like foliage.
Asparagus racemosus
Asparagus scandens
Asparagus schoberioides
Asparagus setaceus (= Protasparagus setaceus) - Fern Asparagus, Lace Fern
Asparagus sprengeri - a greenhouse climber with light and elegant foliage.
Asparagus umbellatus
Asparagus virgatus


== Uses ==
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. Commonly-grown ornamental species are Asparagus plumosus, Asparagus densiflorus, and Asparagus sprengeri.  Some other species have been introduced as weeds,  such as Bridal Creeper, Asparagus asparagoides, which is a major weed species in southern Australia.


== Propagation ==
Division or seed.


== Pests and diseases ==
Fusarium root and crown rot

Fusarium monoliforme
Fusarium oxysporium asparagiRust

Asparagus rust, caused by the fungus Puccinia asparagi.Blight

Botrytis cinerea.Aphids

Cotton Aphid: Aphis gossypii
Asparagus Aphid: Brachycorynella asparagi
Green Peach Aphid: Myzus persicaeMealybugs

Citrus mealybug: Planococcus citriBugs

Garden Fleahopper: Halticus bractatus
Tarnished Plant Bug: Lygus lineolarisThrips

Western Flower Thrips: Frankliniella occidentalis
Onion Thrips: Thrips tabaciFlies

Asparagus Leafminer: Ophiomyia simplex
Asparagus Fly: Platyparaea poeciloptera, a fruit fly.Beetles

Asparagus Beetle: Crioceris asparagi (w:Asparagus Beetle)
Spotted Asparagus Beetle: Crioceris duodecimpunctata (w:Spotted Asparagus Beetle)Caterpillars

Coleophora amaranthella
Saltmarsh Caterpillar: Estigmene acrea
Redbacked Cutworm: Euxoa ochrogster
Variegated Cutworm: Peridroma saucia
Beet Armyworm: Spodoptera exigua
w:Ghost Moth,
The Nutmeg
w:Small Fan-footed Wave
w:Turnip Moth.Millipedes

Garden Symphylan: Scutigerella immaculata (feeds on roots)


== References ==
Fellingham, A.C. & Meyer, N.L. 1995. New combinations and a complete list of Asparagus species in southern Africa (Asparagaceae). Bothalia 25: 205-209.
Cranshaw, Whitney (2004). Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs. Princeton University Press. pp. 581.