WHITE ASPHODEL

Asphodelus albus

Asphodel Family [Xanthorrhoeaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8white
flower
flower8pink
inner
inner8red
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ6
type
typeZspiked
stem
stem8round
toxicity
toxicityZmedium

29th May 2016, Brittany, France. Photo: © Barbara Blackwell
Growing to 1m high, flowers in a long prominent spike. Flowers either white or white with a pinkish-purple tinge.


29th May 2016, Brittany, France. Photo: © Barbara Blackwell
Flowers open from the bottom proceeding upwards. At this moment the open flowers have not quite reached the summit of the plant, whilst the lowest are nearly finished and thinking of fruiting. Leaves are grass-like, up to 60cm long and 3cm wide with an inwards curve to help them stay reasonably upright. Crop periphery in background is bounded by a strip of Bracken.


29th May 2016, Brittany, France. Photo: © Barbara Blackwell


29th May 2016, Brittany, France. Photo: © Barbara Blackwell
At the top the 6 tepals are yet to open and unfold. Flowers centre-stage are displaying 6 long, narrow, almost linear, off-white tepals (there are no sepals). The 6 stamens are even longer and protrude beyong the tips of the petals and tipped by reddish-orange anthers.


29th May 2016, Brittany, France. Photo: © Barbara Blackwell
The fruits develop starting from the bottom.


29th May 2016, Brittany, France. Photo: © Barbara Blackwell
Fruits are a pale plum colour at first.


29th May 2016, Brittany, France. Photo: © Barbara Blackwell
Fruits are a bulging 3-sided near-sphere with 3 obvious parts, each with a slighter pole-to-pole indentation down the centre. Your Author cannot seem to find out how many seeds are contained in one fruit, but it is either 3 or 6, some botanical illustrations show 3 seeds each in their own compartment, whilst others depict what look like three pairs with 2 seeds per compartment. Take your pick, but your Author thinks 6 per fruit.


Not to be semantically confused with : Bog Asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum) [a plant with similar name but not only in a differing genus, but also in a differing family, the Bog Asphodel family Nartheciaceae (formerly Liliaceae].

Slight resemblance to : the slightly shorter (at 60cm) Spiked Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum pyrenaicum) which really does have white flowers (rather than with the possible pink-tinge of some examples of White Asphodel)

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The fruit enables differentiation.

This plant is not a native of the UK, but is an introduced plant now naturalised on a grassy bank in Jersey since the 1970's. The photographer, Barbara Blackwell says that 'it grows in our part of Brittany in abundance, but the only other place we have seen it in any great numbers is Turkey. The spikes appear end of April/early May, and the stem then 'morphs' into an interesting seeded rod! Have wondered for ages what they were, and only recently found out, with Roger's help, through this website'.


  Asphodelus albus  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Xanthorrhoeaceae  

Distribution
 family8Asphodel family8Xanthorrhoeaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Asphodelus
Asphodelus
(White Asphodel)

WHITE ASPHODEL

Asphodelus albus

Asphodel Family [Xanthorrhoeaceae]