There are many different varieties of Wild Asparagus in Europe and North America. The stalks of the different varieties vary in size from as thick as pen to twice that size.
The top of the stalks are different from those of garden asparagus. They look more like the small florets that grass forms if it is allowed to go to seed.
To harvest, you bend it and break it off where the stalk seems less flexible. As it gets too old to harvest, the tops open up and turn yellow.
In France, people actually cultivate it in their home gardens. You can buy in nurseries “crowns” of Wild Asparagus plants to cultivate at home. It is also harvested from the wild in France during May.
In Britain, it now only really grows in Cornwall, Dorset, Glamorgan, and Pembrokeshire. It’s protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Just wash the stalks; don’t peel them.
Serve it a bit crunchy. Overcooking makes it quite “mooshy.”
Wild Asparagus can be served hot, or cooked and chilled, or just raw, as a salad vegetable.
Steam for 2 to 3 minutes or microwave in covered dish with a small amount of water for about 2 minutes.
Lightly pan-fry for use in a frittata.
In China, they harvest the roots in the autumn, cleaning and drying them. They use the roots as a folk medicine.
Despite one of its synonyms being “Chinese Asparagus”, Wild Asparagus is actually native to the Mediterranean.
In Chinese, Wild Asparagus is called “tian men dong”. Ornithogalum pyrenaicum is the North American version; Asparagus prostratus is the British and European species.