Comparison of spear yield and quality between male and female asparagus plants in protected mother fern culture
A higher yield of spears is generally obtained from male asparagus plants than females in outdoor culture. However, recently in Japan, it was reported that the spear weight and yield of female plants was generally greater than those of males in rootstock-planting forcing or mother fern culture. 'UC157' plants were grown in large black polyethylene pots. Spears were harvested daily and their weight and external appearance were recorded for four and two years, respectively. Spear numbers were not significantly different between male and female plants in spring, and tended to be greater per male plant than per female plant from summer to autumn. Mean spear weights per female plant were significantly higher than those per male plant in spring and from summer to autumn. Spear yields per female plant were also significantly higher than those per male plant during spring, whereas no significant differences were found from summer to autumn. Spearhead tightness, an important external quality indicator, was significantly better in female plants than males. From these results, we concluded that in spring, the spear yield and quality of female plants would be better than those of male plants without causing a difference in the annual yield. Therefore, a choice of all-male varieties seems to be not necessary and all female cultivation could be profitable for protected mother fern culture in Japan, since the price of spears in spring and heavier spears is higher in the Japanese asparagus market.
Watanabe, S., Matsuo, M. and Furuya, S. (2018). Comparison of spear yield and quality between male and female asparagus plants in protected mother fern culture. Acta Hortic. 1223, 173-180
Asparagus officinalis L., sex, spear weight, spear number, spearhead tightness