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Wild asparagus fact file

Wild asparagus description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumAnthophyta
ClassLiliopsida
OrderLiliales
FamilyLiliaceae
GenusAsparagus Wild asparagus biology

A long-lived perennial, the stems are produced from ‘rhizomes’ that allow the plant to slowly spread by vegetative reproduction Wild asparagus range

Once recorded from 34 sites on the coasts of southern and south-west England and Wales; it is now known from 28 sites. In England it occurs in Cornwall and in a single site in Dorset. In Wales it is known from Pembrokeshire and the Gower coast

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.
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Wild asparagus habitat

This plant mainly occurs within a few hundred metres of the sea in open, grassy vegetation, more rarely in gorse scrub Wild asparagus status

Classified as Vulnerable in Great Britain Wild asparagus threats

Reported threats to this species include the trampling of cliff-top areas, soil erosion, and a widespread decline in grazing and management, leading to a decline in habitat suitability Wild asparagus conservation

Wild asparagus is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species; the Species Action Plan includes targets to enhance the population size at all known sites, with the aims of doubling the wild population at sites with less than 10 plants (around 9 sites) by 2008 and creating an additional two populations at former sites. Surveys in 1999-2001 showed that of the 28 populations, single plants occur in 4 sites, 5 sites have fewer than 10 plants, and only three sites have more than 100 plants

There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.
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Find out more

Visit the website of the National Trust:
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/

For more on this species see the UK BAP Species Action Plan available at:
http://www.ukbap.org.uk/

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Authentication

Information authenticated by The National Trust:
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/ and by Tim Rich of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales.

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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic groplants

References

  1. Kay, Q.O.N., Davies, E.W. and Rich, T.C.G. (2001) Taxonomy of the western European endemic Asparagus prostratus (A. officinalis subsp. prostratus) (Asparagaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 137: 127 - 137.
  2. Wigginton, M.J. (1999) British Red Data Books 1; Vascular Plants. 3rd Edition. JNCC, Peterborough.
  3. Grigson, G. (1996) The Englishman’s Flora. Helicon Publishing Ltd., Oxford.
  4. Mabey, R. (1996) Flora Britannica. Sinclair-Stevenson, London.
  5. Rich, T.C.G., Bennallick, I.J., Cordrey, L., Kay, Q.O.N., Lockton, A.J. and Rich, L.K. (2002) Distribution and populations sizes of Asparagus prostatus Durhort, wild asparagus, in Britain. Watsonia, 24: 183 - 192.
  6. UK BAP Species Action Plan (March, 2002)
    http://www.ukbap.org.uk/
  7. Rich, T. (2002) Pers. comm.
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Image credit

Wild asparagus  
Wild asparagus

© Roy Anderson

Roy Anderson
roy.anderson@ntlworld.com

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