Ming Fern

Ming fern (Asparagus retrofractus), also known as a zigzag shrub, pom-pom Asparagus fern, and Ming asparagus fern, is an evergreen herbaceous perennial shrub that generally grows 6 to 8 feet tall.

Ming Fern

It originates from South Africa’s arid regions. It belongs to the Liliaceae (Lilies) family and is one of the over 400 plants[1] of the genus Asparagus.

This plant is known for its fern-shaped foliage composed of needle-shaped tufts (20 to 30 cladophylls per tuft) distributed along the stems; each group resembles a pom-pom, hence the common name of pom-pom asparagus fern. However, it isn’t a true fern.

It’s a shrubby plant that has spiny/thorny branches rather than fronds, is propagated by seeds rather than spores, and has leaf-like stem extensions (cladophylls) that are not leaves but typically perform the functions of the leaves.

The slender, scale-like leaves of Ming fern appear where the cladode meets the stalk. The stalks form a branching zigzag structure, hence the common name zigzag shrub. The small, scented white flowers with 6 petals in open axillary umbels bloom from spring to early summer.

The flowers are usually followed by small round orange fruits that ripen to black.

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BioExplorer.net. (2024, April 14). Ming fern. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/flowers/ming-fern/.
BioExplorer.net. "Ming fern" Bio Explorer, 14 April 2024, https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/flowers/ming-fern/.
BioExplorer.net. "Ming fern" Bio Explorer, April 14 2024. https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/flowers/ming-fern/.
Key References
  • [1]“Asparagus retrofractus – Plant Finder”. Accessed December 01, 2021. Link.

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