The wild asparagus season in the Spanish province of Córdoba is starting earlier due to the weather. The areas where it is possible to pick asparagus are the Subbética, Campiña, Sierra Norte, Los Pedroches and Sierra Sur.
Juan Gil, professor and researcher of the Department of Genetics of the Higher Technical School of Agronomic and Forestry Engineering (Etsiam) of the University of Córdoba, says that there are four wild asparagus species growing in different parts of the province of Córdoba, including the capital.
The first of these species is the Asparagus acutifolius, known as wild asparagus. It is the most common and also widely present in the Sierra Norte, the Campiña and the Sierra Sur.
The second species is the Asparagus albus, known as bitter asparagus. This one prefers basic soils (limestone) and is very common in the Sierra Sur (Subbética), although it can also be found in the Campiña and in the Sierra Norte. Gil says that these asparagus are the thickest and that "they and wild asparagus are the two best known species."
To these two we must add the Asparagus aphyllus, known as black asparagus. This one prefers acidic or sandy soils and is only found in the north of the province of Córdoba, namely in Sierra Morena and Los Pedroches. The last species mentioned by the researcher is the Asparagus horridus, which grows only in the Subbética, since it prefers limestone soils.
Gil says that wild species are a valuable resource, since they can provide resistance to crop diseases, a higher content of functional and other compounds, such as flavonoids, and a greater tolerance to dry weather.
5 kilos maximum
Although asparagus can be picked freely, their direct sale is restricted. The Environmental Management Service of the Government of Andalusia says that the maximum amount that can be sold per picker per day is five kilos.