Spermatophyta: Monocotyledonae: Asparagales

Asparagaceae - Asparagus family

Chase, M.W., Reveal, J.L. & Fay, M.J. (2009) A subfamilial classification for the expanded asparagalean families Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 132-136

Demissew, S. (2008) Asparagaceae Flora Zambesiaca 13(1)

Obermeyer, A.A. (1992) Asparagaceae Flora of Southern Africa 5(3)

Description of the family

Suffrutices or shrubs, with annual or perennial stems, sometimes scrambling or climbing and often spiny. Rhizome typically covered with persistent erect cataphylls; tubers often present. Leaves much reduced, bract-like with a spiny or soft spur; leaf-like cladodes solitary or fascicled, linear to ovate, persistent or deciduous. Peduncles or pedicels articulated. Flowers solitary, fascicled or racemose, bisexual, hypogynous. Perianth segments in 2 whorls of 3, similar, free or (in asparagoides) fused into a tube below. Stamens 6. Ovary superior, 3-locular, with 2-12 axile ovules per loculus. Fruit usually a spherical or ovoid berry, sometimes a nutlet, the perianth segments often persisting below. Seeds 1-several, spherical, black.

Comment: According to more recent thinking the family Asparagaceae has been greatly expanded to include many genera formerly placed in separate families. As some of these family concepts were quite distinct and often contained well-known horticultural genera and species, we have for now maintained this more traditional treatment:
- subfamily Agavoideae = family Agavaceae, Anthericaceae and family Hesperocallidaceae
- subfamily Aphyllanthoideae = family Aphyllanthaceae
- subfamily Asparagoideae = family Asparagaceae sensu stricto (as treated here
- subfamily Brodiaeoideae = family Themidaceae
- subfamily Lomandroideae = family Laxmanniaceae
- subfamily Nolinoideae = family Dracaenaceae, Eriospermaceae, Convallariaceae, Nolinaceae and Ruscaceae
- subfamily Scilloideae = family Hyacinthaceae.

Worldwide: 6 genera and 150 species, Old World (excluding Australia), South America, especially arid zones.

Caprivi: 1 cultivated genus and 6 cultivated taxa.

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Links to cultivated genera:     View: living plant images - herbarium specimen images - all images for this family

Asparagus L.Description, Image

Other sources of information about Asparagaceae:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Asparagaceae
Flora of Caprivi: Asparagaceae
Flora of Malawi: Asparagaceae
Flora of Mozambique: Asparagaceae
Flora of Zambia: Asparagaceae
Flora of Zimbabwe: Asparagaceae
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Asparagaceae

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Asparagaceae
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Asparagaceae
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Asparagaceae
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Asparagaceae
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Asparagaceae
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Asparagaceae
JSTOR Plant Science: Asparagaceae
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Asparagaceae
Wikipedia: Asparagaceae
Plants of the World Online: Asparagaceae
Tropicos: Asparagaceae

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Caprivi: Cultivated plants: Family page: Asparagaceae.
https://www.capriviflora.com/cult/family.php?family_id=23, retrieved 25 July 2024

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