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Asphodeline lutea - (L.)Rchb.

Common Name King's Spear, Yellow Asphodel, Jacob's Rod
Family Asphodelaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry grassland[50], rocky and stony places[45], usually on limestone[187].
Range Mediterranean in Southern and Eastern Europe, North Africa and east to the Caucasus.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Asphodeline lutea King

(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future
Asphodeline lutea King
(c) 2010 Ken Fern & Plants For A Future


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Bloom Color: Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late spring, Mid summer. Form: Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Asphodeline lutea is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Asphodelus luteus.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Root  Shoots
Edible Uses:

Root - roasted. This food was highly valued by the ancient Greeks, who roasted the roots like potatoes and ate them with salt and oil or mashed them with figs[2, 183]. The roots are not very thick but are abundantly produced and have a nice nutty flavour[K]. They can be harvested at any time of the year, but are best used when the plant is dormant in late summer and early autumn[K]. They do not store well and should be used within a few weeks of harvest[K]. Young shoots - cooked[K]. They smell less than pleasant whilst cooking but have a fairly bland flavour[K]. Some people find that they have a very pleasant flavour[K]. The plant comes into growth in late summer and the autumn, the young shoots can be harvested in moderation all through the winter[K]. Flowers - raw. A delightful sweetness, they are a very decorative and tasty addition to the salad bowl but should be used as soon as possible after harvesting because they soon start to decompose[K]. The flowers are very short-lived and are best picked in the late afternoon - thus you can enjoy them visually during the day and gastronomically in the evening[K]. There is also said to be a double-flowered form[245], which will have twice the quantity of petals, though we do not know its name[K].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Scented plant. Attractive edible flowers.

Special Uses

Food Forest  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Container, Foundation, Massing. An easily grown plant, it succeeds in ordinary garden soil[1, K], tolerating partial shade[200]. Requires a well-drained soil[42, 134], doing well in sandy soils[188]. Prefers a deep rich soil[111]. Prefers a soil that is not too rich and a warm sunny position[200]. Plants are hardy to about -15°c[187]. A very ornamental plant[1], though it looks very untidy in late summer when it dies down after flowering[K]. It seems to be very wind resistant, tolerating maritime exposure on an exposed site in Cornwall[K]. The flowers are sweetly scented[245]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Naturalizing, Suitable for dried flowers, Fragrant flowers. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 9 through 6. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2]. The root pattern is tuberous with swollen potato-like roots [1-2].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow March/April in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place in 1 - 3 months at 15°c[134]. Once the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring. Division in spring or autumn, with care since the roots are easily damaged[1]. Ensure each division has at least one growing bud[200]. Large divisions can be planted out straight into their permanent positions, smaller ones are best potted up until they are growing away strongly and can then be panted out. We have found that this plant can be successfully divided throughout the growing season so long as it is watered in dry weather[K].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

mootube   Tue May 23 2006

Beware slugs! I planted out quite an established plant which was reduced to a stump overnight by several slugs. This was due to the shape of the long, thin leaves that start at the base, slugs biting through them very close to the ground. One large slug will reduce it to a stump in no time.

mootube   Tue Sep 12 2006

After repotting indoors, the plant grew back to its former proportions although completely missed it's reproductive period. Any cloned crop must wait another year but I ventured to try a piece of raw root and found it unique and pleasant. Well worth adding to a Sunday dinner.

Marinella Zepigi   Tue Jun 10 2008

Acta plantarum forum botanico Description - Photos - Asphodeline lutea (L.) Rchb.

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