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Products > Asphodeline lutea
Asphodeline lutea - King's Spear

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome etc.
Family: Liliaceae (Lilies)
Origin: Mediterranean (Europe)
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10° F
odeline lutea (King's Spear) - A rhizomatous long lived perennial with 1 foot long linear grass-like gray-green leaves. In mid to late spring a leafy inflorescence rises above the foliage to 3 to 4 feet topped by a dense 12 to 18 inch long cylindrical raceme of fragrant inch wide bright yellow flowers that are followed by spheric green seed pods that mature to an attractive brown. Plant in full sun or part shade in well-drained soils and water occasionally to infrequently - is pretty drought tolerant in coastal gardens. It is listed as root hardy if mulched to winter temperatures well below 0° F (some list to -20° F) and useful in gardens in USDA Zones 5 and above. It is native to the eastern Mediterranean, Northern Africa and western Asia (Western Turkey) where it is found in dry grassland or in rocky and stony places, usually on limestone. The name for the genus name is a modification of the closely related genus Asphodelus that was the Greek name for the true asphodel, Asphodelus ramosus and the specific epithet means yellow in reference to the flower color. It is also commonly called Yellow Asphodel, Jacob's Rod and King's Ashodel. Asphodeline lutea is the plant called asphodel or king’s spear by the Greeks and was associated with Persephone, the goddess of the underworld and the fields of the dead. It was believed to be grown in the mythological Elysian fields where heroes enjoyed new life after death. This plant was introduced into the University of Oxford Botanic Garden as early as 1648 under its older name Asphodelus lutea. It has long been in cultivation in California as noted in the observations of Dr. Francesco Franceschi that were documented by Peter Riedel, who wrote that this plant predated Franceschi's arrival to Santa Barbara in 1895 and that large colonies could be found in California Gardens around 1900, but he further noted it was seldom seen later and puzzled at its disappearance in gardens. We thank Evan Meyer for the seed for us to produce this crop. 

Information about Asphodeline lutea displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.