Asparagus officinalis - L.
Garden Asparagus
Other Common Names: garden asparagus
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Asparagus officinalis L. (TSN 42784)
French Common Names: asperge
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.148792
Element Code: PMLIL08030
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Lily Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Liliales Liliaceae Asparagus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Asparagus officinalis
Taxonomic Comments: Native to seacoasts of Europe, Africa, and Asia (Hortus Third).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5?
Global Status Last Reviewed: 21Mar1996
Global Status Last Changed: 21Mar1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (22Mar1994)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (SNA), Arizona (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), California (SNA), Colorado (SNR), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNR), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Mississippi (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), Nevada (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oklahoma (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Texas (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ALexotic, ARexotic, AZexotic, CAexotic, CO, CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, FLexotic, GA, IAexotic, IDexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, LAexotic, MA, MDexotic, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MOexotic, MSexotic, MTexotic, NCexotic, NDexotic, NEexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NMexotic, NVexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, OKexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SCexotic, SDexotic, TNexotic, TXexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, MBexotic, NBexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic, PEexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Insignificant
Rounded I-Rank: Unknown
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Asparagus officinalis is widely cultivated and is naturalized in every continental U.S. state and also in Alaska. Although it is widespread, it generally occurs in disturbed areas. It occurs in fields, fencerows, roadsides, and disturbed areas. However, it is also reported from salt marshes in the northeast, prairie remnants and grasslands in Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, and grasslands and barrens in Wisconsin. In Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, it is very persistent and may become common in some prairie remnants, despite management with fire. In Wisconsin, it occurs in grasslands and barrens but has little or no ecological impact. In Badlands National Park, it has not invaded native communities. It is rare in Florida and occurs on disturbed sites. In California it is scattered and occurs in disturbed places, roadsides, and fields. In Missouri, it is not persistent or spreading except along weedy fence rows and roadsides. In Australia, it is described as eliminating native vegetation and preventing the regeneration of native shrubs and trees. Impacts of this severity were not reported in the U.S. More information is needed about its impacts in the U.S. There is also some conflicting information about its reproductive characteristics and its long distance dispersal ability but it seems to be somewhat to moderately aggressive. Control is apparently relatively easy but more information is needed. It is classified as generally responsive to chemical and/or mechanical treatments in Badlands National Park. In Wisconsin, control is considered feasible, if it is needed.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low/Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Low/Insignificant
I-Rank Review Date: 03Feb2004
Evaluator: Tomaino, A.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to Europe (Gleason and Cronquist 1991).

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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Established outside cultivation (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Escaped from cultivation into waste places or along salt marshes (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). Present in prairie remnants, roadsides, and other grasslands in Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (USFS 2002). Present in grasslands, barrens, and disturbed ground in Wisconsin (IPAW 2003).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low/Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Insignificant
Comments: In Badlands National Park, it does not produce litter or shade that affects ecosystem processes, does not produce allelochemicals, does not affect the availability of soil nutrients, does not affect the availability of water, and does not change the natural fire regime (NPS 2003).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Medium/Low significance
Comments: It is a perennial herb (Weber 2003). In Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota, and Indian Dunes National Lakeshore, it is considered a moderately successful competitor (APRS Implementation Team 2001). In Badlands National Park, it is considered a poor competitor (NPS 2003). In Wisconsin, it occurs in grasslands and barrens but is considered to be a relatively poor competitor and to have little or no ecological impact (IPAW 2003). According to Weber (2003), where invasive, it forms dense stands that eliminate native vegetation and prevent the regeneration of native shrubs and trees; this information is apparently from Australia, not the region of interest.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Medium/Low significance
Comments: In Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota, and Indian Dunes National Lakeshore, it is considered a moderately successful competitor (APRS Implementation Team 2001). In Badlands National Park, it is considered a poor competitor (NPS 2003). In Wisconsin, it occurs in grasslands and barrens but is considered to be a relatively poor competitor and to have little or no ecological impact (IPAW 2003). According to Weber (2003), where invasive, it forms dense stands that eliminate native vegetation and prevent the regeneration of native shrubs and trees; this information is apparently from Australia, not the region of interest.

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: It is not known to hybridize with native species (NPS 2003).

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Low significance
Comments: Apparently, it is primarily found in disturbed habitats and is not impacting any species of conservation significance. In North America, it occurs on fields, fencerows, roadsides, and disturbed areas (FNA 2002). In Badlands National Park, it has not invaded native communities, it requires open soil and disturbance to germinate, is found on sites disturbed within the last 10 years, and is associated with early successional species (NPS 2003). It is rare in Florida and occurs on disturbed sites (Wunderlin 1998). In California it is scattered and occurs in disturbed places, roadsides, and fields (Baldwin et al. 2004). However it does occur in salt marshes in the northeast (Gleason and Cronquist 1991), prairie remnants and grasslands in Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (USFS 2002), and grasslands and barrens in Wisconsin (IPAW 2003).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: Occurs in every continental U.S. state (Kartesz 1999) and also Alaska (FNA 2002).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Insignificant
Comments: In Midewin National Tallgrass Praire, it is very persistent and may become common in some prairie remnants, despite managment with fire (USFS 2002). In Wisconsin, it occurs in grasslands and barrens but has little or no ecological impact (IPAW 2003). In Badlands National Park, it has not invaded native communities (NPS 2003). It is rare in Florida and occurs on disturbed sites (Wunderlin 1998). In California it is scattered and occurs in disturbed places, roadsides, and fields (Baldwin et al. 2004). In Missouri, it is not persistent or spreading escept along weedy fence rows and roadsides (Ladd and Churchwell 1999 in MEPPC 2002).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High significance
Comments: At most 100% of units in the continental U.S., inferred from Kartesz (1999) and TNC (2001).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: It occurs in salt marshes in the northeast (Gleason and Cronquist 1991), prairie remnants and grasslands in Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (USFS 2002), and grasslands and barrens in Wisconsin (IPAW 2003).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:High/Low significance
Comments: It is found in disturbed areas. In North America, it occurs on fields, fencerows, roadsides, and disturbed areas (FNA 2002). Disturbed areas and not declining, therefore it is presumed to be not declining.

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Insignificant
Comments: Greater than 90%, inferred from Kartesz (1999) and USDA (1990).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Seeds are dispersed by birds (Weber 2003). There is little potential for long-distance dispersal (at Pipestone National Monument) or great potential for long distance disperal (at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore) (APRS Implementation Team 2001). In Badlands National Park, there is little potential for long distance dispersal (NPS 2003).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Medium/Low significance
Comments: In Badlands National Park, it has shown little or no increase in numbers of individuals and populations (NPS 2003). In Missouri, is is not persistent or spreading except along weedy fence rows and roadsides (Ladd and Churchweel 1999 in MEPPC 2002). In California, naturalized populations are scattered and it occurs in disturbed places, roadsides, and fields (Baldwin et al. 2004).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Apparently, it is primarily found in disturbed habitats and is not impacting any species of conservation significance. In North America, it occurs on fields, fencerows, roadsides, and disturbed areas (FNA 2002). In Badlands National Park, it has not invaded native communities, it requires open soil and disturbance to germinate, is found on sites disturbed within the last 10 years, and is associated with early successional species (NPS 2003). It is rare in Florida and occurs on disturbed sites (Wunderlin 1998). In California it is scattered and occurs in disturbed places, roadsides, and fields (Baldwin et al. 2004). However it does occur in salt marshes in the northeast (Gleason and Cronquist 1991), prairie remnants and grasslands in Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (USFS 2002), and grasslands and barrens in Wisconsin (IPAW 2003).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:High significance
Comments: In Australia (presumeably), occurs in grassland, riparian habitats, coastal sand dunes and beaches, salt meadows, and swamps (Weber 2003). In the U.S., it occurs in salt marshes in the northeast (Gleason and Cronquist 1991), prairie remnants and grasslands in Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (USFS 2002), and grasslands and barrens in Wisconsin (IPAW 2003). Apparently it has not yet invaded riparian habitats, swamps, sand dunes and beaches in the U.S.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Number of seeds per plant is moderate (11-1000) according to NPS (2003) and APRS Implementation Team (2001). Seed viability is 1-5 years (at Pipestone National Monument) or greater than 5 years (at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore) (APRS Implementation Team 2001). In Badlands National Park, seeds remain viable in the soil for 1-5 years (NPS 2003). The plant spreads mostly by rhizome fragmentation (Weber 2003).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Low/Insignificant

17. General Management Difficulty:Medium/Low significance
Comments: An exotic plant with low impact and easy to control; generally responsive to chemical and/or mechanical treatments (NPS 2003). In Midewin National Tallgrass Praire, very persistent, may become common in some prairie remnants, despite managment with fire (USFS 2002). In Wisconsin, control is considered feasible, if it is needed (IPAW 2003).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Low significance
Comments: Seed viability is 1-5 years (at Pipestone National Monument) or greater than 5 years (at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore) (APRS Implementation Team 2001). In Badlands National Park, seeds remain viable in the soil for 1-5 years (NPS 2003).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Insignificant
Comments: Control measures have little potential to affect native communities (NPS 2003).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Occurs on public lands where the government agency overseeing the land has published documents concerning the impact and control of exotic species including it (NPS 2003; USFS 2002) so at least in some areas, accessibility is not a problem. Mature asparagus has caused poisoning in cattle (Kingsbury 1964 in FNA 2002) so private landowners may be interested in controlling it. Because it is widely cultivated as a vegetable (FNA 2002), controls near cultivated areas might meet with access issues (FNA 2002). Overall, accesibility does not appear to be a great problem.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Alien plants ranking system (APRS) Implementation Team. 2001a. Alien plants ranking system version 7.1. Southwest Exotic Plant Information Clearinghouse, Flagstaff, AZ. Online. Available: http://www.usgs.nau.edu/swepic/ (accessed 2004).

  • Baldwin, B.G., S. Boyd, B.J. Ertter, D.J. Keil, R.W. Patterson, T.J. Rosatti and D.H. Wilken. 2004.
    Jepson Flora Project, Jepson Online Interchange for California Floristics. Regents of the University of California, Berkeley. Online. Available: http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/jepson_flora_project.html (Accessed 2004).

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2002a. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 26. Magnoliophyta: Liliidae: Liliales and Orchidales. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxvi + 723 pp.

  • Gleason, H.A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

  • Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin (IPAW). 2003. IPAW working list of the invasive plants of Wisconsin: a call for comments and information. Plants Out of Place, Issue 4. Online. Available: http://www.ipaw.org/newsletters/issue4.pdf (accessed 2004).

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Missouri Exotic Pest Plant Council (MEPPC). 2002. Missouri Exotic Pest Plants: A list of non-native plants that threaten Missouri's native biodiversity. Missouri Botanical Garden. Online. Available: http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/mepp/ratings.shtml (accessed 2004).

  • National Park Service. 2003. Badlands National Park Integrated Weed Management Plant and Environmental Assessment, March 2003. National Park Service. Online. Available: http://planning.nps.gov/plans1.cfm (accessed January 2004).

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

  • U.S. Forest Service. 2002. Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Land and Resource Management Plan. Final Environmental Impact Statement. U.S. Forest Service, Wilmington, IL. Online. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/mntp/plan/ (accessed January 2004).

  • USDA Agricultural Research Service. 1990. USDA Plants Hardiness Zone Map. Misc. Publ. Number 1475.

  • Weber, E. 2003. Invasive plant species of the world: a reference guide to environmental weeds. CABI Publishing, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 548 pp.

  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1998. Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida. University Press of Florida: Gainesville, Florida. 806 pp.

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