Asparagus densiflorus

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Asparagus densiflorus
'Myersii' is one of the forms of this variable species that is popular in horticulture
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Asparagoideae
Genus: Asparagus
A. densiflorus
Binomial name
Asparagus densiflorus
(Kunth) Jessop
  • Asparagopsis densiflora Kunth
  • Protasparagus densiflorus (Kunth) Oberm.

Asparagus densiflorus (among several species colloquially called asparagus ferns; no relation to actual ferns), or the foxtail fern (asparagus) or plume fern, is a variable, evergreen-perennial plant related to cultivated, edible asparagus.

It is native to southern Africa, from Mozambique to South Africa, but is widely cultivated.[1]

Related species[edit]

Foxtail asparagus is part of a group of similar-looking and related Asparagus species native to Africa, including Asparagus aethiopicus ("Sprenger's asparagus"), A. confertus and A. krebsianus.[2]

A. densiflorus has been occasionally confused with A. aethiopicus—a different, spikier, more rambling and pendant species[3][4][5]—thus some sources provide incorrect information in reference to A. densiflorus. The plant formerly often grown as A. densiflorus var. ‘Sprengeri’ is, simply, A. densiflorus.[6][3] Furthermore, the species known as A. densiflorus var. 'Myersii' remains A. densiflorus, as well.

As a whole, the Asparagus genera is part of a larger botanical order, the Asparagales, which groups together other related plant families such as the agaves, cordylines, dracaenas, orchids, ponytail palms, snake and spider plants, and yuccas (Joshua trees).


Asparagus densiflorus is native to the Cape Provinces, KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Provinces in South Africa, Eswatini (Swaziland) and the Inhaca Islands of Mozambique.[7]


As it cannot tolerate frost, in temperate regions A.densiflorus is usually grown under glass. Numerous cultivars have been developed, of which the compact form 'Myersii' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[8] Its dense 50 cm plumes of foliage are especially valued in flower arranging.


  1. ^ a b WCSP (2011). "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families". Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2011-12-06. Search for "Asparagus densiflorus"
  2. ^ Maria F Norup, Gitte Petersen, Sandie Burrows, Yanis Bouchenak-Khelladi, Jim Leebens-Mack, J Chris Pires, H Peter Linder, Ole Seberg. (2015). Evolution of Asparagus L. (Asparagaceae): Out-of-South-Africa and multiple origins of sexual dimorphism. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 92: 25-44.
  3. ^ a b "Asparagus aethiopicus | PlantZAfrica".
  4. ^ "FNA Vol. 26 Page 213, 214: Asparagus aethiopicus". Flora of North America. Flora of North America. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  5. ^ WCSP (2011). Search for "Asparagus aethiopicus".
  6. ^ "Asparagus densiflorus | PlantZAfrica".
  7. ^ "Asparagus densiflorus (Kunth) Jessop". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2023-10-21.
  8. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Asparagus densiflorus 'Myersii'". Retrieved 2020-04-15.

Further reading[edit]