Chap. 040. Of Wild Asparagus.
II. The Kinds. There are two principal Kinds,
1. Myacanthinus Galeni, Asparagus Sylvestris foliis acutis: Gesner, Dodonoeus, Camerarius, and others, call it simply Asparagus Sylvestris: Cordus, Lobel, Lugdunensis, and others, Corruda: Baubinus and Parkinson, Asparagus foliis acutis (Asparagus acutifolius -Henriette); and is thought to be the Asparagus Petraeus of Galen and Dioscorides.
2. Asparagus Petrous, or Corrudi aculeata, Prickly Rock Asparagus: this is called by Clusius, Corruda altera: by Dodoneus, Asparagus Sylvestris. (so that he makes little difference between this and the former, tho' indeed there is much:) and by Bauhinus, Asparagus aculeatus alter, tribus aut quatuor spinis ad eundem exortum (Asparagus aphyllus -Henriette).
III. The Descriptions. The first, Wild Asparagus with sharp Leaves, has a Head of Roots, having many Strings and Fibres depending from it, thicker and shorter than any of the other Kinds from whence rises up three or four Stalks, which are shorter, stronger, and tougher than the others, diversly spread and branched into many Wings, on which are set at several distances, many small, short, hard, and sharp pointed Leaves, five or six standing at a joint together: At these joints likewise, with the Leaves, come forth the Flowers, many, set upon a long Stalk, which are Yellow, and consisting of six Leaves apiece, smelling as sweet as a March Violet; after which come small Berries, green at the first and of a blackish Ash colour when they are ripe, wherein is contained a hard Black Seed.
IV. The second Wild Kind or Prickly Rock Asparagus, which some call Thorny Asparagus, has very thick and short Roots, with many thick strings, all meeting together at the head of the Root, from whence rises up several branched green Stalks, having three or four sharp green Thorns (more like indeed to Thorns than Leaves, they are so hard, small, long, and sharp pointed) set together all along the Stalks and Branches; from which come forth small, mossy, yellowish green Flowers; and after them store of Berries, greater than in the former, and of a blackish green colour, when they are ripe, full of a greenish Pulp; wherein usually lies but one black hard Seed, or at most two, having a White Kernel within it.
V. The Places. The first Kind grows in Stony and Rocky places, as, near to Salamanca in Spain, also under Hedges, and in the very Fields in Castile and Granada; about Narbone and Montpelier in France; as also in Creet or Candy. The second grows in stony and ragged or rocky places, as also by hedge sides, not only in Spain, but also in Portugal and Creet. But with us, both the Kinds are only found nurst up in Gardens of the Curious.
VI. The Times. They send forth their tender Shoots early in the Spring, and Flower in June and July, having ripe fruit in September : But with us in England, it scarcely comes to perfection, unless the Season is very warm, and they grow in a warm place, which may defend them from cold Blasts and nipping Winds.
VII. The Qualities. They are Temperate as to the first Qualities, but rather more drying than any of the former. They incide, attenuate, and open powerfully, and are strong Diureticks and Lithontripticks: and peculiarly appropriated to the Liver, Spleen, Reins, and Womb.
VIII. The Specification. I have been informed by some intelligent English Men, who have lived in Spain for some Years, that the People of the place esteem them as one of the most peculiar Remedies against the Stone and Gravel, and much Superiour to the Garden or Marsh Kinds.
IX. The Preparations. You may make from the Root,
1. A Decoction.
2. A Juice.
3. An Essence.
4. A Saline Tincture.
5. A Distilled Water:
and from the Seeds or Berries,
6. A Pouder.
X. The Virtues are the same with the Garden and Marsh Kinds: and therefore the Designation and Uses of each Preparation the same, to which you are referred; save, that these Wild Kinds are estemeed to be double in Force and Goodness.
Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
This chapter has been proofread by Nick Jones.