Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Asphodeline Lutea

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Position: Flourishes in full sun to light shade.

Soil: Moist well drained soil.

Flowering period: Spring.

Eventual Height: 1m

Eventual Spread: 30cm

Hardiness: USDA Zone 6a-9b

Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae

Sub Family: Asphodeloideae

Asphodeline lutea is a deciduous perennial with a clump forming habit. From the blue green grass like foliage a flower spike emerges in early spring. The foliage is produced along the length flowering stems and is furrowed and narrowly triangular. In late spring it bears dense racemes of bright yellow flowers with large ovate bracts which are followed by shiny green seed pods. The flowers open in a seemingly random order and do not last long.

A. lutea is commonly known as Kings Spear, Jacob’s rod and Yellow asphodel and is native to the Mediterranean. Asphodels have historically symbolised death stemming from the Greek belief that there were great fields of Asphodels beyond the river Acheron in the underworld, where the shades wandered.

Asphodeline is derived from the ancient Greek name for the true asphodels, asphodelus, with lutea being Latin for ‘yellow’ or ‘saffron’.

Asphodeline lutea (16/05/2011, Paris)

Asphodeline lutea (16/05/2011, Paris)

The landscape architect may find this plant  when used in combination with other perennials and it is particularly attractive when planted in swathes.

This plant will tolerate almost any soil conditions; it will be happy in acid, neutral or alkaline pH levels, in loam, sand or chalk in a sheltered or exposed location but will not thrive in a north facing aspect.

Ecologically this plant will attract bees and other pollinating insects.

Maintenance: Requires no Maintenance, dead flower spikes may be removed in autumn. If the clumps become too large they may be split after flowering, from August to September.

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