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wild asparagus

Asparagus officinalis


The spring growth of this plant resembles a cluster of green fingers. It looks exactly like the asparagus you find in the supermarket, although sometimes smaller. The mature plant has fern-like, wispy foliage and red berries. Its flowers are small and greenish in color. Several species have sharp, thorn like structures.

Habitat and Distribution

Asparagus is found worldwide in temperate areas. Look for it in fields, old home sites, and fence rows.

Edible Parts

Eat the young stems before leaves form. Steam or boil them for 10 to 15 minutes before eating. Raw asparagus may cause nausea or diarrhea. The fleshy roots are a good source of starch if cooked.


Do not eat the fruits of any since some are toxic.

Steve's notes:

This is the same plant as the domestic one. Wild asparagus may be a bit smaller, depending on the soil it grows in. The stems are only edible for a short while in the spring. They become tough and woody as they get taller. Caught at the right time, though, the wild variety is just as delicious as domestic asparagus.


The Ultralight Backpacking Site | Asparagus