Q: What is the name of this fern growing it all over my neighbor’s yard. It is very pretty and filly, but I noticed it has tiny thorns.

A: The plant you showed me is called Asparagus fern, Asparagus setaceus, but it is also known as Common Asparagus Fern. There are many varieties of asparagus fern and a few, such as Asparagus aethiopicus, are classified as type I Invasive according to FLEPPC (Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council). Common Asparagus Fern is native to the moist, forest areas of South Africa. It prefers dappled light but can tolerate a wide range of light conditions once it is established. Common Asparagus Fern is slightly drought tolerant but it responds well to occasional irrigation. Its cold hardiness zone is 9-12, which means it can die back during cold winter seasons in zone 8. It can over-grow perennials although it is not as aggressive as similar vines. Common Asparagus Fern is not a true fern as it produces flowers and seeds rather than spores. Don’t be fooled by the soft, feathery look of the leaves as the stems have small, fine needle-like projections that prick like thorns. These projections make it unique from other asparagus species and therefore easier to identify.

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Posted: June 13, 2017


Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes
Tags: Asparagus Fern, Asparagus Setaceus, Fern


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