Wild asparagus

Wild asparagus is very important edible plant in Mediterranean area. Main part of the plant which is used for food are shoots. It has been collected from the ancient time. It is considered an interesting crop for marginal rural areas due to its frugality, which allows it to be cultivated in arid soils, and for its already existing market.

The wild asparagus is considered a healthy food used in folk medicine as diuretic to treat several kidney related disorders. It is consumed cooked in different dishes, although it is preferred with eggs, i.e. omelets, scrambled or poached eggs. According to nutritional studies, the spears of A. acutifolius are rich in flavonoids and vitamin C, showing a high antioxidant activity (even when examined after boiling). Specifically, their content of ascorbic acid is more than fivefold higher than that from the cultivated asparagus, A. officinalis L.

Latin name:
Asparagus acutifolius L.
Order, Familiae:
Asparagales, Asparagaceae
Part of specie used:
Stems (Shoots)
Foodstuff, Natural medicines, Nutraceuticals, Reproductive materials

Asparagus is dioecious, perennial plant that stays in one place for more than 15 years (100). The underground part of asparagus consists of upper side with numerous buds and roots on the bottom. Young, succulent shoots develop from the buds in the early spring (mid-March – May) from which, if not cut off in spring, the stem is developed that can grow up to 1.5 meters. Flowers are yellow-green, 5 mm length and starts with blooming in a period May – June. Pollination is done by insects, with special emphasis on honey bees. Fruits are ripening in a period from October to September. Unmatured berries are green, after few weeks start to be dark purple colored. In one berry there are 2-3 small seeds. Asparagus is grown directly from seed or seedlings that can be produced in containers. Wild asparagus prefer to be overshadowed by shrubs and trees, so it has good potential to be cultivated with olive trees (Oliva europaea L.) within agroforestry system. Average temperatures 10-20 (25) °C. These plants grow near woods and inside it, on uncultivated places, on dry and sunny soil (Terra rossa, Calcocambisol) above limestone base. They can be found at an altitude of 0–1,100 meters above sea level.


Management of this plant is not strictly defined. Wild asparagus is collected by individual pickers. In Croatia, it’s necessary to obtain a permit for collecting shoots in state owned forests. Law of each country defines quantities that can be picked up for personal or commercial use. Unfortunately, control by government institutions is on minimum level.

In last decade some country (Italy, France and Spain) try to establish plantation of wild asparagus. They work on intensive researches and raise experimental plots.


Molina, M., Pardo-de-Santayana, M., Garcia, E., Aceituno-Mata, L., Morales, R., Tardio, J., Exploring the potential of wild food resources in the Mediterranean region, Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research (4), 2012, p.1090-1100.
Eckert, J. E., Honey bees increase asparagus seed, Amer. Bee Jour. 96, 1956, p.153-154.
Rosati, A., Benincasa, P., Tei, F., Plant Density and Genotype Effects on Wild Asparagus (Asparagus acutifolius L.) Spear Yield and Quality, HORTSCIENCE 42(5), 2007, p.1163-1166.
Pepe et al., Valorizzazione dell’asparago selvatico, Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria (CREA), 2009

incredible logo

The INCREDIBLE project aims to show how Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFP) can play an important role in supporting sustainable forest management and rural development, by creating networks to share and exchange knowledge and expertise. ‘Innovation Networks of Cork, Resins and Edibles in the Mediterranean basin’ (INCREDIBLE) promotes cross-sectoral collaboration and innovation to highlight the value and potential of NWFPs in the region.


Innovation Networks of Cork, Resins and Edibles in the Mediterranean basin’ (INCREDIBLE) project receives funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement Nº 774632

NWFPS.ORG Knowledge Repository

Innovation Networks of Cork, Resins and Edibles in the Mediterranean basin (INCREDIBLE)

European non-wood forest products network

Unlocking the bioeconomy and non-timber forest products

The NWFPS.ORG Knowledge Repository webpage is designed to act as a long term legacy of various research activities and projects dealing with non-wood forest products. It hosts various information on researchers, research institutions and research topics from all around the globe.

If you need your project to remain alive for longer period of time, or you just need a project website, feel free to contact us at info[at]nwfps.org.

Whether you want your project to have a free domain in form of www.nwfps.org/[project-name] of other domain name of your choice (ending with .com, .org, .net, .eu, etc.), we can do the registration for you and point your domain to your content. All our servers provide free SSL encryption and can be rented for multiple years.

If you need just a simple website displaying your ‘About’ info or you need a more complex design to display your content, it can be arranged.

Not all of your content can be displayed in generic websites? Contact us for specific database development.

Stand out with your visuals! If you’re starting a project, you will need a visual identity. We can design your logotype and all other dissemination documents.

You also need a free email service? It can be done! There is no limit in number of e-mail addresses in form of [your-name]@nwfps.org. Spam protection can also be implemented.