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Scale bar 10mm. Copyright CSIRO
Foliage and fruit. Copyright CSIRO
10th leaf stage. Copyright CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. Copyright CSIRO
Asparagus plumosus Baker
Baker, J.G. (1875) Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany 14: 613. Type: South Africa; syn: Port Natal, J. F. Drege 4482; K; British Kaffraria, Cooper 202; K; Durban; Gerrard & Mken 754; TCD.
Asparagus setaceus (Kunth) Jessop, Bothalia 9: 51(1966), Type: South Africa, George District, J. F. Drege 8584; holo: KIEL. Fide J. P. Jessop, Bothalia (: 51 (1966).
Ferny Asparagus; Climbing Asparagus Fern
A slender vine not exceeding a stem diameter of 2 cm.
Flowers single or paired, pendulous, about 5-7 mm diam. Pedicels about 1-2.5 mm long. Tepals about 3-4 x 1-1.5 mm. Staminal filaments about 2-3 mm long, anthers about 0.5 mm long. Ovary globose, about 2 mm diam. Style about 0.5-1 mm long, trifid.
About 4 or 5 translucent cataphylls produced before the first linear-filiform, green cladode. The first true green leaves (actually cladodes) appear as a pair in the axil of the translucent cataphyll. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves, i.e. cladodes, produced in clusters of 5-8. Cladodes linear-filiform, without venation. Cataphylls or bracts are produced at each major branch among the cladodes. Cladodes variable in length but commonly about 7-8 mm long.
Distribution and Ecology
An introduced species originally from southern Africa, now naturalized in NEQ and southwards New South Wales and South Australia. Altitudinal range in NEQ from near sea level to 800 m. Usually grows near settlements or in old gardens but also on rain forest edges or in disturbed areas in rain forest.
This commonly cultivated plant has now escaped and can be found over a wide range in various habitats. Seed is dispersed by birds.
Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)