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.

Cite This Page

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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