Family: Asparagaceae

asparagus family

The family Asparagaceae contains only one genus and species in our region. It is a perennial herb. The leaves are reduced to small bracts, leaving the green stems as the primary structure responsible for photosynthesis. The leaves have parallel veins and are alternately arranged along the stem. The flowers may have both pollen-bearing and ovule-bearing parts or may be unisexual, and they grow on stalks from the junction of leaf and stem. The flowers are small, bell-shaped, 3-parted, and comprised of two whorls of similar sepals and petals (called tepals) attached below the ovary (i.e., the ovary is superior). There are 6 stamens and 1 ovary comprised of 3 carpels. The fruit is a fleshy berry that is red when ripe. Species in this family were formerly considered to be part of the Liliaceae.

This Family’s Genera in New England:

Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key