4. Asparagus aethiopicus Linnaeus, Mant. Pl. 63. 1767.
Sprenger asparagus-fern, emerald-fern
Asparagus sprengeri Regel
Shrubs, sprawling or scrambling; roots fibrous and tuberous. Stems to 2 m, wiry, branches numerous, finely ridged; cladophylls solitary or in fascicles of 3 or more per node, linear, flattened, straight or curved, 8–22 × 2 mm, with single prominent vein. Leaves membranous, 1–2 mm; blade diamond-shaped, attached in middle, tapering to slender apex. Inflorescences in axillary racemes, 5–9(–17)-flowered. Flowers bisexual; perianth rotate to campanulate; tepals white to pale pink, 3–4 × 1.5–2 mm; pedicel 5–8 mm, jointed 2–3 mm above base. Berries red, 5–8 mm. Seed 1. 2n = 40, 60.
Flowering spring--summer. Waste places, abandoned gardens; 0--100 m; introduced; Fla.; s Africa.
The name Asparagus densiflorus (Kunth) Jessop (Asparagopsis densiflora Kunth) has been misapplied to this species (P. S. Green 1986; W. S. Judd 2001). Asparagus aethiopicus cv. ‘Sprengeri’ is the most common of the asparagus-fern cultivars.