Asparagus setaceus, seeds of feathery asparagus fern
Asparagus setaceus belongs to the family of the Asparagaceae. A. setaceus is native to Africa, but meanwhile it is distributed in all tropical and subtropical areas in the world. A. setaceus was once known as Asparagus plumosus, but the name was replaced because Asparagus setaceus means “the one with the bristles” what fits much better to the plant.
A. setaceus is also known as feathery asparagus fern. It is cultivated for ornamental reasons in Europe, A. setaceus cannot be eaten.
The feathery asparagus fern is a perennial, herbaceous plant, that reaches a height of about 90 cm. A. setaceus has so called phylloclades. That means that there are no real leaves, just branches that are green and look like a leaf. Those phylloclades get about 1 cm long. They give the feathery asparagus fern a filigree look. But nevertheless A. setaceus is a really robust plant. At the shoot there are some thorns.
The flowers are small, white and have a very pleasant odor. They have a 1 mm long petiole. The stamens are clearly visible. It can take quite a long time until A. setaceus flowers for the first time. High air humidity can accelerate the flower development. It flowers mostly just one month. Out of the flower develops a small, round berry. The berry is fist orange and gets deeply red when ripening. The fruit cannot be eaten. In the pulp there are the seeds. The root of the feathery asparagus fern is a rhizome.
A. setaceus is often used by gardeners to create nice flower bouquets. Therefore the feathery asparagus fern is put between the flowers. A. setaceus is also used to plant terrariums that contain frogs or chameleons. It is popular because A. setaceus starts ranking after some time and though covers stones and other things in the terrarium what makes it look more beautiful.
The seeds of the feathery asparagus fern have to be cleaned from the pulp. Then they should be put into water for 24 h before planting. After that they can be put 0,5 cm deep into the substrate. When the substrate is kept moist at a temperature of about 25°C germination occurs after 3 to 5 weeks.
The feathery asparagus fern should be placed shady and moist. It cannot stand sunny places. A. setaceus is not winter hardy and should be put into the house over winter.