Asphodelus albus

.Botanical Name : Asphodelus albus
Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Genus: Asphodelus
Species: A. albus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Names :White asphodel,Asphodel

Habitat : Asphodelus albus is native to the Mediterranean area.(S. Europe. ) The plant is commonly found in meadows and heathland of central Spain, southwest France, and along the southern Alps to the western Balkans up to an altitude of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). It is also found on the continent Africa, mainly in Libyan territory. Soils with a high lime content are preferred.

Description:
Asphodelus albus is a herbaceous perennial plant.  It grows to a height of 50–120 centimetres (20–47 in). The plain stem is supported by fleshy, thickened roots (rhizomes). The leaves, which originate from the base of the stem, are gutter-shaped and glaucous (covered by a waxy coating), about 20–22 millimetres (0.79–0.87 in) wide and 50–70 centimetres (20–28 in) long. The white hermaphroditic flowers are funnel-shaped, 4 centimetres (1.6 in) of diameter, with six elongated petals. The flowering period extends from April through June. The egg-shaped yellow-green seed capsules are usually 8–10 millimetres (0.31–0.39 in) in length.

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It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil, tolerating partial shade. Requires a well-drained soil and a sheltered position. Prefers a deep rich sandy loamy soil. Prefers a soil that is not too rich and a sunny position. Grows well on hot dry banks and in thin grass. Established plants are drought tolerant. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits.

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Propagation:
Seed – sow March/April in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 3 months at 15°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. When the plants are large enough to handle, plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in early spring or autumn

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Root.
The root was at one time eaten as a food but, since it contains the alkaloid asphodeline, this is not really very advisable.

Medicinal Uses:
Antidermatosic;  Detergent;  EmollientVulnerary.

The tubers are antidermatosic, detergent, emollient and vulnerary. They are mainly used externally in the treatment of skin conditions and for lightening freckles. They have also been employed internally as a cough remedy. The tubers are harvested in the spring and dried for later use. Use internally with caution, especially if you are suffering from nephritis or gastritis.

Other Uses :
An alcohol can be obtained from the fermented roots.

Known Hazards: The root is poisonous

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Asphodelus+albus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asphodelus_albus

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