by Stephen Mifsud
   22 Jun 2024      ()
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Asparagus stipularis   (Grey Asparagus)

Asparagus stipularis  (ASPARAGACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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General Information Species Images
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Detailed species profile
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Profile Date Mar-2007 (taxon update: June-2012)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Asparagus stipularis - datasheet created on Mar-2007. Retrieved from on 22-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Asparagus stipularisForrsk.
Published in Fl. Aegypt. 72 (1775)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Asparagus horridus L.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Asparagaceae Juss. (=Liliaceae) (The Asparagus Family)
33 species from the Asparagaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Grey Asparagus

Maltese name(s) :

Spraġġ griż

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Nano-Phanerophyte ( small trees to large shrubs, usually <5 m )
Germination [info]: Monocotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

February – April

Colour of Flowers:

Yellow or Cream


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Asparagus: An old Greek name given for peculiar plants with needle-like leaves (cladodes). (Greek origin )
stipularis: bearing stipules (leaves subtending the main leaves). (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

This is a rather rare plant found only at the margin of the south coastal cliffs of Gozo. This species was doubtfully recorded in Malta by Borg in his flora (published in 1927) as Asparagus aphyllus subsp. horridus from mainland Malta, but these records are somewhat doubtful, possibly nothing more than atypical forms of the common Asparagus aphyllus. However, typical specimens of A. horridus (syn: A. stipularis Forsk.) were first rediscoved, or perhaps, first recorded from Gozo by Mr. Sdravko Vesselinov Lalov and later by Stephen Mifsud in 2007. Numerous specimens occur only from coastal cliffs between Wardija point to Ta'Cenc.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: High rocky coastal cliffs especially on Globigerina Limestone flanks in the south and western coast of Gozo.
Botanical Description: Stem up to 60 cm, woody. Stem and branches with numerous smooth to papillose ridges. Cladodes (10-)15-30(-60) mm, solitary or in fascicles of 2-3, patent, strongly spiny. Pedicels 1-3(-5) mm, with 0-2 bracteoles at the base. Nodes with 2-6(-8) flowers mixed with the cladodes. Perianth-segments 3.5-4 mm. Berry 5.5-8 mm, with 1-4 seeds.
Chromosome number: 2n=20
Distributional range: Mediterranean region, C. & S. Portugal.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
the Balaeric Islands, Crete, Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ag Bl Ca Cr Cy Eg Gr Hs IJ It Li LS Lu Ma Sa Si Sn Tn

Links & Further literature (3 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Distribution of some rare or endemic chasmophytic and rupestral species growing along the coastal cliffs of the Maltese Islands Stephen Mifsud  (2013)
Updates in the Flora of the Maltese Islands (Central Mediterranean) Stephen Mifsud  (2007)
Rediscovery of Asparagus stipularis Forskål (Family: Asparagaceae) in the Maltese Islands (Central Mediterranean) Sdravko Lalov  (2007)
Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (39 images)
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-0.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-1.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-2.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-3.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-4.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-5.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-6.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-7.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-8.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-9.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-10.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-11.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-12.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-13.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-14.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-15.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-16.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-17.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-18.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-19.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-20.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-21.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-22.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-23.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-24.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-25.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-26.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-27.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-28.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-29.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-30.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-31.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-32.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-33.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-34.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-35.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-36.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-37.
   Asparagus stipularis   -   Image Code: SPGST-38.

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Use this form to submit more information on this species or report mistakes in this webpage. If information supplied is taken from a book, journal or website, please provide the corresponding reference or website address. Your email address is only for internal communication. Please report only Maltese locations for plants that indicated as rare or very rare (refer to the nomenclature section above). Please do report mistakes, broken links, technical errors, typing / grammar errors, misidentifications or taxonomical updates; this will help to improve the website's accuracy. Thanks you! Fill any of the three sections (A/B/C) below and kindly submit the form.     * = required fields.
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Section A:  Additional Information about this plant species
Own observations: Info from published material (books, journals, website):
Reference of published material:
Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
Locations in Malta or Gozo where you have seen this plant. Only applies for rare plants.

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Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
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