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Asparagus


[R] Asparagus officinalis L. (Liliaceae).
Fr: Asperge; Ge: Spargel; Sp: Espárrago; It: Asparago; Pt: Espargo.
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- Perennial, Mediterranean plant with rhizomes (*) .
- France is the principal producer in Europe.
- The plant is obtained from seeds; it produces a root (subterranean stem having roots and buds) that is planted February-April, in small mounds, under 5 to 6 cm of earth, these being arranged in furrows. There is no harvest in the first year; the stems dry and are cut and burned in autumn. Aparagus passes the winter as a root. In the spring, the buds lengthen and emerge from the soil; they are called turions or spears. Only 2 or 3 spears are harvested per plant so as to not exhaust the plant. Harvesting, always manual, may spread over 2 months.
- A crop of asparagus may produce for around 10 years.
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- Diseases: Rust and summer heat can seriously damage the leaves. The most serious diseases are violet root rot (Rhizoctonia violacea) and fuscarium infection (Fusarium spp) responsible for considerable damage to the roots. These diseases continue to be difficult to combat. Wilting damage frequently indicates soil fatigue.
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- Principal European pests: the asparagus maggot (Platyparea poeciloptera), its principal enemy, burrows into the stem. The bean seed maggot (Delia platura) damages the turions. The asparagus beetle (Crioceris asparagi) causes damage to the stem and fronds.

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HYPPZ on line: Species (scientific names), Pests (common names), Glossary, Crops.

HYP3 : HYPP Phytopathology.

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