Asparagus officinalis (Garden Asparagus)

Plant Info
Also known as: Common Asparagus
Family:Asparagaceae (Asparagus)
Life cycle:perennial
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; fields, open woods, along roads
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:2 to 7 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 6-petals

[photo of flowers] 1 to 3 flowers arise from the leaf axils in the upper part of the plant. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch long, bell-shaped with 6 pale yellow to greenish tepals (petals), 6 orange-tipped stamens, on a slender stalk up to an inch long.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound

[photo of leaves] Leaves are compound and feathery, with soft, needle-shaped leaflets about 1 inch long grouped in clusters of up to 5, alternately attached. The stems are many branched, slender and weak, sometimes erect but often drooping.

Fruit: Fruit type: berry/drupe

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a shiny red berry ¼ to 1/3 inch in diameter, containing up to 6 seeds. The berries persist through the winter.


This is the same asparagus you can find at your local grocer; it escaped cultivation and has become naturalized throughout much of the U.S., often in the part shade of open woods and woodland edges. Asparagus sprouts up in early spring, and that's the best time to harvest the tasty shoots.

Native Plant Nurseries, Restoration and Landscaping Services ↓

Map of native plant resources in the upper midwest

  • Out Back Nursery
  • Shop for native seeds and plants at!
  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds
  • Morning Sky Greenery - Native Prairie Plants
  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water

More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Bailey - Excelsior
on: 2013-06-20 18:43:43

Asparagus grows all along the open areas along the bike/walking trail in Excelsior and in a few other spots in people's yards. My grandma, who grew up in the area, remembers picking wild asparagus from the same spots (it was a railroad track back then) back in the 1930s. So, asparagus has been established locally for a long time.

Posted by: Kevin - Whitewater State Park
on: 2016-06-12 11:14:18

Does it seem strange that I would have found some of this growing on the top of a bluff on Dakota Trail? I am certain that it was asparagus, just seemed an odd place to find it growing.

Posted by: Dawn - Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area
on: 2017-10-21 10:40:19

Striking and outstanding yellow fall color in a patch along the path from the western parking lot.

Posted by: Jen - Iron range
on: 2018-05-20 08:43:42

Hi I'm searching for wild asparagus, where can I find it? I'm gilbert biwabik area.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2018-05-20 12:14:53

Jen, asparagus grown in your garden isn't any different from what you might find in "the wild". It simply escapes cultivation and shows up here and there. So go to your local garden center, purchase some, and plant it. You'll have the same thing.

Posted by: Jeff - Stacy/Linwood township
on: 2020-05-19 16:01:39

Found 2 spears today growing in the ditch.

Posted by: Deb B-F - Virginia
on: 2020-07-31 14:47:03

Jen, two years late however we just found the wild asparagus plant on the bike trail in Gilbert. Behind the Holiday Station and walk west. You'll see 3-4 plants.

Posted by: Pamela - Menahga/park rapids
on: 2022-06-04 07:58:40

Looking for the plant has anyone seen in my area?

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2022-06-04 09:00:23

Pamela, asparagus grown in your garden or purchased at the local farmer's market isn't any different from what you might find in "the wild". It simply escapes cultivation and shows up here and there. So go to your local garden center, purchase some and plant it, or visit the farmer's market. You'll have the same thing.

Posted by: Jon
on: 2024-05-10 08:21:42

K Chayka - Asparagus found in the wild has a sweeter taste and more flavor. Garden varieties have been selectively breed for other qualities such as producing more spears and some varieties you buy even are all male plants. Wild asparagus plants are NOT plants that 'simply escapes cultivation' as Native Americans would harvest it long before 'gardens' were established with it.

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2024-05-10 19:07:17

Jon, asparagus is not native to North America. Plants found in the wild in North America were either intentionally planted or escaped cultivation.

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.


Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.