Eaten as a vegetable, Asparagus officinalis has been widely cultivated for its young shoots since ancient Greek times. The species is naturalized in many temperate climates. Mature asparagus has caused poisoning in cattle (J. M. Kingsbury 1964). Young plants can cause dermatitis, and the red berries are suspected of poisoning humans (E. M. Schmutz and L. B. Hamilton 1979). The species is dioecious (J. E. Lazarte and B. F. Palser 1979), and homomorphic sex chromosomes have been identified (H. Loptien 1979).