Asparagus Plumosus Fern
Asparagus plumosus is a perennial flowering plant in the genus Asparagus. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is naturalized in many countries, often as an ornamental garden escapee.
It is a stout, branching plant that bears spreading clusters of relatively large white flowers, which develops into a large globose cluster of berries. The natural range includes southern Europe and northwest Africa through the Levant, Anatolia, Caucasus Mountains, and Black Sea (Turkey) through Iran to Central Asia up to western China.
Asparagus plumosus is a common garden escape. It has been introduced in many countries with a similar climate to the Mediterranean, including the United States, India, Italy (where it is considered an invasive weed), Australia, and New Zealand. It had been classified as an unwanted exotic in Britain but has been reclassified as a noxious weed and therefore illegal to grow.
Asparagus Plumosus Size
“Asparagus plumosus” is a perennial plant that grows from a thick caudex, usually around 3 ft (0.9 m) in height. It is an attractive plant with large white flowers that mature to bright red berries. The roots are fibrous, but the stems are woody and hollow. The flowers develop on the tips of branches in large clusters at the end of the root system.
The plant is commonly seen in the wild bearing red berries, but it may show variations with the straw-yellow variety. The leaves are basal, growing from a thick caudex around 3 ft (0.9 m) in height. The plant produces an abundance of suckers along with the root system.
“Asparagus plumosus” flowers most profusely in spring and early summer, but it may bloom through the summer and continue into late autumn. The flowers are white, about an inch in diameter, with 6 petals. The berries which follow the flowers develop in large clusters along the branches, turning from yellow to scarlet as they ripen. Each berry is about 1″ (2.5 cm) wide and contains a single seed.
Asparagus Plumosus Habitat
“Asparagus plumosus” is native to southeastern Europe and western Asia, where it grows at elevations up to 3000 feet (900 m). Its natural range extends through southern Europe to the Caucasus Mountains. It can be found near the Mediterranean Sea in Israel, the Middle East. The plant has also been introduced to the United States, where it has become a popular ornamental garden escape, and it is now also naturalized in India.
“Asparagus plumosus” is considered an invasive weed in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of North America. It has been widely spread along the U.S. Atlantic coast because of its ornamental value. It is considered to be a weed in California and Oregon and was recently identified as a noxious weed in New York State; however, it is not considered a possible invasive species in Maryland or Virginia. This plant has naturalized in the wild, and it is now considered a serious pest in parts of the eastern United States.
“Asparagus plumosus,” similar to other perennial species belonging to Asparagaceae, has a large underground tuber for storage of nutrition, which enables it to survive during drought periods. This tuber is usually very well-developed under forest canopy; however, this plant produces branched stems with many leaf rosettes under open areas.
The branched stems ensure that the plant gets sufficient water, and this characteristic is important for the survival of “A. plumosus,” which requires intense sunlight and poorly-drained soils. The modified leaves are fleshy, erect, smooth, and green in color. This species flower in early spring with small white flowers; later, it forms fleshy berries red-colored and very juicy. These berries are short-lived compared to other species belonging to the same genus (“Asparagus” spp.); however, these berries are very nutritious and important food for birds.
The distribution of “A. plaumosus” is restricted to areas where there is a moderate temperature in conjunction with a distinct dry and hot continental climate. In this type of climate, the species grows mainly in open meadows, steppe, forests, and forest edges or clearings. It can also grow on roadsides, where it spreads by seeds, rhizomes, and suckers.
“A. plumosus” is widely spread in the Mediterranean region (Libya, Egypt, Syria), the Caucasus Mountains (Turkey, Georgia), and western Asia (Iran, Afghanistan). In western Europe, the plant is widespread in southern France.
In its natural range, “A. plumosus” is most common in dense forests or along forest edges, but it can also grow on open steppe and in very arid areas. It usually grows among grasses and forbs with scattered trees or shrubs. The species grows relatively well, even in disturbed areas, as long as it is not subject to extreme dryness and heat.
The plant is distributed over thickish soils, but it can also tolerate shallow rocky soil on calcareous soils and light sandy soils. It can also grow on roadsides, and it is often found near chicken coops because of the high nutritional value of the berries that birds easily consume.
Asparagus Plumosus Propagation & Care
“Asparagus plumosus” is self-sows easily. It easily spreads by vegetative propagation, but it usually does not reproduce in the wild. The seeds are wind-dispersed by birds, which also spread the seeds by their droppings. Off-host plants can be established from seeds and suckers that survive in the soil. Propagation can also occur from rhizomes and resembles vegetative reproduction.
The plant grows faster in colder temperatures. Thus, it is necessary to plant this species at the end of summer or early autumn, ensuring a successful start during the first season. Plants that were planted during the spring season have lower survival rates due to unfavorable weather conditions.
“Asparagus plumosus” is a wild perennial species and is mainly used as an ornamental plant. It can be cultivated in parks, gardens, or on patios where it has to be irrigated frequently; however, it can also be grown in well-drained soil and semi-shaded areas during the summer. This species cannot survive heavy frosts; the tubers are damaged by temperatures below.
The plant is propagated by tubers stored in potting soil, but it can also propagate from cuttings. The tubers are planted vertically, and the surface of the rhizome can be scarified with a spray of water before planting. Planting the tubers into soil that has only been moistened will result in vegetative propagation; however, this may lower survival rates.
The species is hardy and drought tolerant. It can also grow in areas where temperatures can exceed, such as the northern Mediterranean coast. In this region, it is often found near the sea and on sandy soils. It needs relatively frequent watering throughout the growing season; a balanced diet of nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers is recommended to promote healthy green leaves.