Asparagus aethiopicus

Photo: Ron Vanderhoff

Synonyms: Asparagus sprengeri, Asparagus densiflorus

Common names: Asparagus fern, Sprenger's Asparagus, foxtail fern

Asparagus aethiopicus (Asparagus fern) is a perennial plant (family Asparagaceae) that is native to South Africa and has been used extensively in the horticulture industry as a garden ornamental. It is characterized by having a low stature and attractive green branches with small, linear leaves, white flowers, and fruits that are red berries. Asparagus aethiopicus can form dense mats above ground with large tubers and an extensive root system that can suppress other vegetation in shaded settings. This species is listed as invasive in several other parts of the globe where it has escaped from gardens, mostly in wetter areas than California. It has established and is apparently spreading in some natural areas in coastal central and southern California.

Cal-IPC Rating: Watch

CDFA Rating: None?


Plant Risk Assessment - An evaluation of the potential for a plant to be invasive in California.

Weed Management Notes

No Weed RIC Management Notes are available for this species. Check for information on other species in the genus on the Weed RIC site.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

There are no Symposium presentations associated with this species yet.

Other Asparagus aethiopicus Information

  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - Distribution map and records of this species in California.
  • EDDMapS - Distribution of this species in North America.
  • GBIF - Global distribution information.
  • Jepson Interchange - Information on this plant's taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Information on identification and distribution, with links to websites in individual states.
  • The Plant List - Global taxonomic resource and collaborative clearinghouse from Kew Gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Missouri Botanic Garden and others.
  • Additional photos