Asphodel, the common name for a genus of plants of the lily family and for several species in this and other genera.
The asphodel genus is made up of about 12 species, which are native to the Mediterranean regions and India. One species commonly called asphodel is a perennial herb that grows to 6 ½ feet (2 m) in height. Its white flowers, about 3/4 inch (2 cm) long, are borne at the end of a long stalk.
King's spear, another plant commonly called asphodel, is not of the asphodel genus. The king's spear grows to four feet (1.2 m) in height. It bears fragrant, yellow flowers in finger-shaped clusters. The king's spear is native to southern Europe and Arabia. Among the ancient Greeks, it was the flower of the dead and was associated with tombs. The asphodel mentioned in early French and English poetry is a narcissus.
Bog asphodels make up a genus of about eight species of perennial herbs, which are native to Europe, eastern Asia, and the east and west coasts of the United States. The bog asphodels, which have yellowish-green flowers, grow from one to two feet (30 to 60 cm) in height.
The asphodel genus is Asphodelus. The member of this genus described in this article is A. microcarpus (also called A. aestivus ). The king's spear is Asphodeline lutea. Bog asphodels make up the genus Narthecium. All these types of asphodels belong to the family Liliaceae. The asphodel of French and English poetry is Narcissus pseudonarcissus, of the family Amaryllidaceae.