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Asparagus cochinchinensis - (Lour.)Merr.

Common Name Chinese Asparagus
Family Asparagaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Near seashores all over Japan[58]. Thinly forested slopes, roadsides and waste fields from near sea level to 1700 metres in China[266].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Asparagus cochinchinensis Chinese Asparagus


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Asparagus cochinchinensis Chinese Asparagus

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Asparagus cochinchinensis is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen in September. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Bees. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Synonyms

A. cochinchinensis. (Lour.)Merr. A. falcatus. Benth. A. insularis. Hance. Melanthium cochinchinen

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Tubers - cooked[1, 61, 177]. The tubers are up to 5cm long and 2m wide[266]. They are washed to remove the bitterness, the fibrous core is removed and the root is then boiled[46, 179]. It tastes like asparagus[22]. Another report says that the tubers are eaten after preserving in sugar[183]. The fruit is said to be edible[183]. The fruit is about 6 - 8mm in diameter[200]. Another report says that the berries are harmful if eaten[238].

Medicinal Uses



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Antibacterial;  Antiinflammatory;  Antipyretic;  Antiseptic;  Antitussive;  Cancer;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  
Infertility;  Nervine;  Sialagogue;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

This species has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years[238]. The roots contain asparagine, mucilage, starch and sugars[283]. The dried root is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antiseptic, antitussive, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, sialagogue, stomachic, nervous stimulant and tonic[176, 178, 218, 238, 279]. It is taken internally in the treatment of fevers, debility, sore throats, coughs etc[238]. It is often decocted with other herbs and used in the treatment of a wide range of ailments including diabetes mellitus[218]. It is commonly used in restorative recipes together with Rehmannia glutinosa and Codonopsis javanica[283]. Prolonged usage is recommended for the treatment of impotence[218]. The root is harvested when the plant is dormant and is dried for later use[238]. The plant has a folk history for the treatment of cancer, modern research has detected antitumour activity and it is now being studied for the treatment of lung cancer[218].

Other Uses

Insecticide.

Kills the larvae of flies and mosquitoes[176]. No more details.

Cultivation details

Easily grown in any good garden soil[200]. Prefers a rich light well-drained sandy loam in a sunny position[238]. Plants are almost hardy in Britain according to one report[1], whilst others say that the plants tolerate temperatures down to between -10 and -15°c[200, 238]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

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Propagation

Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring or as soon as the seed is ripe in early autumn in a greenhouse. It usually germinates in 3 - 6 weeks at 25°c[134]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a sunny position in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer[K]. Division in early spring as the plant comes into growth.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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

 

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Expert comment

Author

(Lour.)Merr.

Botanical References

58200266

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Julie Bruton-Seal   Thu Jan 6 21:45:59 2005

Another good source of information is: Chinese Herbal Medicine, Materia Medica by Dan Bensky & Andrew Gamble. Eastland Press, first edition 1986, revised edition 1993 ISBN 0-939616-15-7

saifulla   Fri Feb 23 2007

Asparagus falcatus

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