Page images

Asparagus officinalis . Common Asparagus.

Mathes Del&Sc

Pub by WBaxter Botanic Garden Oxford 1810.

[ocr errors]


Linnean Class and Order. HEXA'NDRIA †, MONOGYNIA. Natural Order. ASPHODE'LEE, Dr. R. Brown.-Lind. Syn. p. 266. ; Introd. to Nat. Syst. of Bot. p. 273.-Loud. Hort. Brit. p. 539.-Mack. Fl. Hib. p. 284.-Hook. Brit. Fl. (4th ed.) p. 423.— ASPARAGI, Sect. I. Juss. Gen. Pl. p. 40.-Sm. Gram. of Bot. p. 71.— ASPARAGINEÆ, sect. I. Rich. by Macgilliv. p. 402.-ASPARAGEÆ, Macr. Man. Brit. Bot. p. 233.-LILIALES; sect. LILIACINE; type, ASPHODELACEA; Burn. Outl. of Bot. v. i. pp. 418, 425, & 427.SARMENTACEE, Linn.

GEN. CHAR. Calyx none. Corolla (perianthium §) (see figs. 1 & 2.) inferior, of 6 deep, equal, oblong, spreading, deciduous petals, combined at the base. Filaments (see fig. 2.) 6, awl-shaped, smooth, inserted at the base of the petals, and much shorter than them. Anthers peltate, upright. Germen (fig. 3.) globular. Style short, with 3 furrows. Stigma in 3 spreading lobes, deciduous. Berry (see figs. 4, 5, & 6.) globular, of 1, 2, or 3 cells, and few seeds. Seeds (fig. 7.) externally globose, with a horny albumen, and a transverse embryo, far out of the centre.

The inferior, deeply 6-parted corolla; the globose, 1- to 3-celled, few-seeded berry; and the short style, with a 3-lobed stigma; will distinguish this from other genera, without a calyx, in the same class and order.

One species British.

ASPARAGUS OFFICINA'LIS. Common Asparagus. Sperage. SPEC. CHAR. Stem herbaceous, round, upright, without prickles. Leaves bristle-shaped, fasciculate, flexible. Peduncles jointed in the middle.


Engl. Bot. t. 339.-Fl. Dan. t. 805.-Linn. Sp. Pl. p. 448-Huds. Fl. Angl. (2nd edit.) p. 145.-Willd. Sp. Pl. v. ii. pt. 1. p. 150.-Sm. Fl. Brit. v. i. p. 369.; Engl. Fl. v. ii. p. 152.-With. (7th edit.) v. ii. p. 432.-Gray's Nat. Arr. v. ii. 185.-Lindl. Syn. p. 267.-Hook. Br. Fl. p. 158.-Macr. Man. Brit. Bot. p. 233.Davies' Welsh Bot. p. 33.-Hook. Fl. Scot. p. 103.-Grev. Fl. Edin. p. 77.-Fl. Devon. pp. 59 & 129.-Bryant's Fl. Diæt. p. 52.-Phil. Cult. Veg. (new edit.) p. 27.-Walker's Fl. of Oxf. p. 95.-Loud. Encyl. of Gard. (1835) p. 847. paragr. 4260-Bab. Prim. Fl. Sarn. p. 94.-Irv. Lond. Fl. p. 107.-Asparagus, Ray's Syn. p. 267.-Asparagus sativus, Johnson's Gerarde. p. 1110.-Mill. Icon. p. 37.

t. 55. f. 1.

LOCALITIES. On the sea-coast, in sandy or stony places.- Cornwall; Mullion Island, near the Lizard Point, and hence the largest pyramidal mass of Serpentine rock, in Kynance Cove, is called Asparagus Island: Dr. WITHERING.Devon; Banks of the Exe, between Topsham and Lympstone: Miss FILMORE,

Fig. 1. A Flower.-Fig. 2. A Flower opened longitudinally, showing the six stamens. Fig. 3. Germen.-Fig. 4. A Berry.-Fig. 5. A transverse section of ditto, showing the Seeds.-Fig 6. The same with the seeds removed.-Fig. 7. A Seed.-Fig. 8. A Seed with the testa removed, showing the situation of the embryo.Fig. 9. A transverse section of the albumen, with the embryo.-Fig. 10. Embryo separate.

Fron Asparagos, Gr.; a term originally applied to all tender shoots of plants. WITHERING. See folio 33, note .

+ See folio 33, note +.

See folio 41, a.


in Fl. Devon.-Dorset; Very common on the Chesil Bank; on the shores and marshes at Poole Harbour; and especially about the North Haven Sa db inks: Dr. PULTENEY. Near the Ferry, and extremity of Portland Island: D). TURNER, Esq. in B. G. Near Weymouth: Mr. LAMBERT.-Essex; About Harwich: RAY.-Gloucestersh. In the Marshes below Bristol: MERRETT, in Pin. p. 11. In the salt marshes below King's Weston, near Britol: Dr. STOKES. Marshes near Thombury: Mr. DYER. Sea Mills: Miss WORSLEY, in N. B. G.-Ħants; At Christ Church; and Freshwater, Isle of Wight: Dr. PULTENEY -Kent; By the Thames near Gravesend: Mr. J. SHERARD, in Ray's Syn.-Lincolnsh. In the rich Meadows near Holbeach, Long Sutton, &c.: Sir J. BANKS, in B. G. Cliff near Hemswell, Spittal: Lond. Fl.-Norfolk; Burgh, near Beccles : Mr. WOODWARD, in B. G. Sea-shore, opposite the Monument: Mr. Woodward, in N. B. G.-Somersetsh. In marshes below Look's Folly, two miles from Bristol: Mr. NEWTON, in Kay's Syn. Sand banks at Steart and Burnham, from 3 to 5 feet high, when in blossom: N. B. G.-Surrey; Near the Mill, Waddon; probably not wild: Lond. Fl.-WALES. Anglesea; On a sandy hillock below Llanfælog: Rev. H. DAVIES.-Glamorgansh. Meadows between Cowbridge and the sea; and about Cardiff: Dr. TURTON.-SCOTLAND. Haddingtonsh. Links near Gosford: Mr. E. MAUGHAN, in Fl. Edin.

Perennial.-Flowers in July.

Root somewhat creeping, with long, stout, fleshy fibres; the crown densely scaly. Stems annual, upright, round, smooth, stiff, naked and scaly below; much branched, and leafy above; from a foot to 18 inches high in a wild state, in a cultivated one much higher. Leaves tufted, small, bright green, bristle-shaped, pointed, smooth. Stipulas solitary, membranous, spear-shaped, sometimes with 2 smaller ones within, the uppermost short and torn. Flowers axillary, 2 or 3 together, bell-shaped, drooping, yellowish-green; each on a slender, jointed, drooping peduncle. Style very short. Berries globular, bright scarlet, about the size of currants, not eatable. Seeds black. Plants sometimes dioecious, or even polygamous. A variety, in which the foliage is procumbent, is described by DILLENIUS in Ray's Synopsis, as growing on the sandy banks by the sea-side between Langwyfan and Llanfaelog; and also below Look's Folly, two miles from Bristol. It has been observed since, in the former station, by the Rev. H. DAVIES.

[ocr errors]

Asparagus is a native of most other parts of Europe as well as of England, and also of Japan. In that excellent and most useful work of Mr. LOUDON'S, the Encyclopædia of Gardening, we are informed, that " many of the steppes in the south of Russia and Poland are covered with this plant, which is there eaten by the horses and oxen as grass." It is much cultivated, especially about London, for the sake of the young sprouting stems, which are universally esteemed for their flavour and nutritious qualities. It is principally served to table on a toast, or ragou'd. It also makes an excellent soup, and is often cut small and sent to table as a substitute for green peas.

A very pretty little insect of the Beetle kind, Chrysomela Asparagi, feeds upon the plant.


Mathews. De&Sc.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »