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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Genus: Asparagus

[= Myrsiphyllum, Protasparagus]

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Asparagales > Family: Asparagaceae

About 120 species, distributed through Africa, Europe and Asia, and has also been introduced to Australia. A total of 86 species are native to southern Africa, and one species, Asparagus officinalis (Garden asparagus), is cultivated in the region.

The asparagus vegetable that we eat is derived from young shoots of Asparagus officinalis (asparagus). However, the shoots of some indigenous southern African species are also eaten.

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Asparagus acocksii

Asparagus aethiopicus
Asparagus africanus
Asparagus aggregatus  
Asparagus alopecurus  
Asparagus angusticladus  
Asparagus asiaticus  
Asparagus asparagoides
Asparagus aspergillus  
Asparagus bayeri  
Asparagus bechuanicus  
Asparagus biflorus  
Asparagus buchananii  
Asparagus burchellii  
Asparagus capensis  
Asparagus clareae  
Asparagus coddii  
Asparagus concinnus  
Asparagus confertus  
Asparagus cooperi  
Asparagus crassicladus  
Asparagus declinatus  
Asparagus densiflorus  
Asparagus denudatus  
Asparagus devenishii  
Asparagus divaricatus  
Asparagus edulis  
Asparagus exsertus  
Asparagus exuvialis  
Asparagus falcatus
Asparagus fasciculatus  
Asparagus filicladus  
Asparagus flagellaris

Recorded from Zimbabwe and Mozambique.  

Asparagus flavicaulis  
Asparagus fourei  
Asparagus fractiflexus  
Asparagus glaucus  
Asparagus graniticus  
Asparagus humilis

Recorded from Mozambique.

Asparagus intricatus  
Asparagus juniperoides  
Asparagus kraussianus  
Asparagus laricinus
Asparagus lignosus
Asparagus longicladus  
Asparagus lynnetteae  
Asparagus macowanii  
Asparagus mariae  
Asparagus microraphis  
Asparagus minutiflorus  
Asparagus mollis  
Asparagus mucronatus  
Asparagus multiflorus  
Asparagus multituberosus  
Asparagus natalensis  
Asparagus nelsii  
Asparagus nodulosus  
Asparagus oliveri  
Asparagus ovatus  
Asparagus oxyacanthus  
Asparagus pearsonii  
Asparagus pendulus  
Asparagus petersianus

Recorded from Mozambique.

Asparagus plumosus  
Asparagus psilurus

Recorded from Mozambique.

Asparagus racemosus  
Asparagus ramosissimus  
Asparagus recurvispinus  
Asparagus retrofractus  
Asparagus rigidus  
Asparagus rubicundus
Asparagus scandens
Asparagus schroederi  
Asparagus sekukuniensis  
Asparagus setaceus
Asparagus spinescens  
Asparagus stellatus  
Asparagus stipulaceus  
Asparagus striatus  
Asparagus suaveolens  
Asparagus subulatus  
Asparagus sylvicola  
Asparagus transvaalensis  
Asparagus undulatus  
Asparagus virgatus
Asparagus volubilis  

Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).

Asparagus officinalis (Garden asparagus)

Native from Europe to southwestern Asia.


  • Fellingham, A.C. & Meyer, N.L. 1995. New combinations and a complete list of Asparagus species in southern Africa (Asparagaceae). Bothalia 25: 205-209.
  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.
  • Jessop, J. 1966. The genus Asparagus in southern Africa. Bothalia 9: 31-96.
  • Malcomber, S.T. & Sebsebe, D. 1993. The status of Protasparagus and Myrsiphyllum in the Asparagaceae. Kew Bulletin 48: 63-78.
  • Merxmüller, H. 1970. Asparagus. Prodromus einer Flora von Südwestafrika  147: 25-32.
  • Obermeyer, A.A. 1984. Revision of the genus Myrsiphyllum Willd. Bothalia 15: 77-88.
  • Obermeyer, A.A. & Immelman, K.L. 1992. Asparagaceae. Flora of Southern Africa 5,3: 11-82.