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Asparagus densiflorus

   (Family: Agapanthaceae)
   
English: Asparagus fern, emerald fern, basket asparagus  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 600m
Spread: 1m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Frost Tolerant (heavy)
Rarity Status:
Common
   
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
 
pH: neutral
Toxicity:  
  Eating of berries may cause gastrointestinal problems. Skin irritation with redness, swelling, and blisters following contact with sap.
 
Flowering time EDIT
x x                   x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
 
Pink
 
White
Flower shape
 
  Flower scent EDIT
  sweetly scented
  Flower info
  The flowers are not very noticeable, as they are half hidden by the foliage and do not last long. Small flowers axillary, drooping, 6-parted, bell-shaped, most often white or pale pink
 
 
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf arrangement
 
  Leaf info EDIT
  Evergreen
  Leaves alternate and scale-like, terminal branchlets very narrow, flat, needle-like, in clusters of 3.
 
 
Fruit type EDIT
Fruit colour
Red
 
  Seeds per fruit 1
 
Seed colour
Black
  Seed info EDIT
  The fruit a bright red berry, which each have one large black seed in them.
 
 
Description EDIT
Asparagus densiflorus is an evergreen perennial plant, closely related to the vegetable asparagus.
It is somewhat woody, the branches gracefully arching and fern-like.
Flowers are small, most often white or pale pink.
Growing EDIT
Grows in most soils and is fairly drought tolerant, but does much better in soil which is rich in organic matter and is watered regularly.

To rejuvenate the plants, they can be cut back after flowering. At this time a thick mulch of compost can be spread around the plants.

They can be readily propagated by separating the tubers in fairly large clumps, or by sowing the seed in spring or early summer. The seed should be removed from the fleshy berries, placed in a suitable sowing medium in a warm spot or with bottom heating of about 25°C and kept moist.
Distribution EDIT
Grows in the coastal areas in the southeastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal in a wide range of habitats, from coastal dunes to open rocky places or woods.
History EDIT
Numerous cultivars have been developed, of which the compact form 'Myersii' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Uses EDIT
Its dense 50 cm plumes of foliage are especially valued in flower arranging.

Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri', 'Flagstaff' and 'Mazeppa' are excellent as a groundcover, especially in full sun. 'Sprengeri and 'Flagstaff' form long, arching branches of up to 1 m in length and can reach a height of 60 cm, while 'Mazeppa' forms a very compact dark green mat and looks very attractive in containers as well as on sloping garden walls.
Ecology EDIT
The berries are attractive to birds and may be spread by them.
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References

 
  • JESSOP, J.P. 1966. The genus Asparagus in southern Africa. Bothalia 9: 31-96  
 
 

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