Asparagus cochinchinensis - (Lour.)Merr.
Common Name Chinese Asparagus
Family Asparagaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Near seashores all over Japan[58]. Thinly forested slopes, roadsides and waste fields from near sea level to 1700 metres in China[266].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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Asparagus cochinchinensis Chinese Asparagus
Asparagus cochinchinensis Chinese Asparagus
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Asparagus cochinchinensis is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

A. cochinchinensis. (Lour.)Merr. A. falcatus. Benth. A. insularis. Hance. Melanthium cochinchinen

 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Tubers - cooked[1, 61, 177]. The tubers are up to 5cm long and 2m wide[266]. They are washed to remove the bitterness, the fibrous core is removed and the root is then boiled[46, 179]. It tastes like asparagus[22]. Another report says that the tubers are eaten after preserving in sugar[183]. The fruit is said to be edible[183]. The fruit is about 6 - 8mm in diameter[200]. Another report says that the berries are harmful if eaten[238].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antibacterial;  Antiinflammatory;  Antipyretic;  Antiseptic;  Antitussive;  Cancer;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  
Infertility;  Nervine;  Sialagogue;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

This species has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years[238]. The roots contain asparagine, mucilage, starch and sugars[283]. The dried root is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antiseptic, antitussive, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, sialagogue, stomachic, nervous stimulant and tonic[176, 178, 218, 238, 279]. It is taken internally in the treatment of fevers, debility, sore throats, coughs etc[238]. It is often decocted with other herbs and used in the treatment of a wide range of ailments including diabetes mellitus[218]. It is commonly used in restorative recipes together with Rehmannia glutinosa and Codonopsis javanica[283]. Prolonged usage is recommended for the treatment of impotence[218]. The root is harvested when the plant is dormant and is dried for later use[238]. The plant has a folk history for the treatment of cancer, modern research has detected antitumour activity and it is now being studied for the treatment of lung cancer[218].


Other Uses

Kills the larvae of flies and mosquitoes[176]. No more details.
Cultivation details
Easily grown in any good garden soil[200]. Prefers a rich light well-drained sandy loam in a sunny position[238]. Plants are almost hardy in Britain according to one report[1], whilst others say that the plants tolerate temperatures down to between -10 and -15°c[200, 238]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring or as soon as the seed is ripe in early autumn in a greenhouse. It usually germinates in 3 - 6 weeks at 25°c[134]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a sunny position in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer[K]. Division in early spring as the plant comes into growth.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


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Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
Julie Bruton-Seal   Thu Jan 6 21:45:59 2005
Another good source of information is: Chinese Herbal Medicine, Materia Medica by Dan Bensky & Andrew Gamble. Eastland Press, first edition 1986, revised edition 1993 ISBN 0-939616-15-7
saifulla   Fri Feb 23 2007
Asparagus falcatus
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Subject : Asparagus cochinchinensis  

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