Help with identifying a shrub of California Coast

Dana Point, CA

Hello all, I have been trying to identify this plant for sometime now and have resort to asking for some help. If anyone can help guide me I would be most grateful.

The leaves are about 3/4" in length. The berries about 1/4" in diameter. There is a hard black seed about 1/8" in diameter, spherical. I have crushed a few berries and cannot identify a particular smell (was looking for the bitter or almond smell, but could not, perhaps bad nose).

Thanks for the help ahead of time!

Dave

Thumbnail by dave8born5
San Francisco, CA

Asparagus densiflorus - "asparagus fern"

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Asparagus (not a fern as stated above, ferns don't have berries).

Resin

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Asparagus fern has thorns-considered an invasive- houseplant not a food, red berries, don't give it a chance, it'll happily take over. Named because the new growth on the end has a DEFINITE resemblance to an asparagus tip as it grows out. DO NOT know anything but common name tho

San Francisco, CA

I always place common names in double quotes to make it clear that this is what is in wide usage. I put the Latin names in italics to indicate the proper name. it becomes tedious to constantly have the irrationality of common names pointed out. Common names are common, not correct. Get over it.

Delhi, India

The plant commonly cultivated under the name Asparagus densiflorus, common name asparagus fern, is actually A. aethiopicus 'Sprengeri'.

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=242101423

http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=88887

http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?446667

San Francisco, CA

If you accept that the giant climber from East Africa with huge leaves A. aethiopicus L., and the little sub-shrub from South Africa with needle-like leaves A. densiflorus(KUNTH) JESSOP are the same species, then I guess that would be so.

IPNI has not adopted that view, apparently


This message was edited Jan 6, 2013 1:25 PM

Delhi, India

IPNI does not deal with synonyms
APNI does and agrees with links cited by me above and accepts that name A. densiflorus has been misapplied to this species. Please note that for plants of California, GRIN, Jepson Manual and FNA should be relied more.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

hmmmph, a pest by ANY name...

San Francisco, CA

Yes the plant is a pest in Australia, Hawaii, and Texas, I read. It is also a common houseplant all over the world, and is one of the top five plants for cleaning pollutants out of the indoor air.

San Francisco, CA

Quote from singhg45 :
IPNI does not deal with synonyms
APNI does and agrees with links cited by me above and accepts that name A. densiflorus has been misapplied to this species. Please note that for plants of California, GRIN, Jepson Manual and FNA should be relied more.


In my research to date, it would appear that there is no clear consensus on whether the East African and South African sp. are synonymous. There are two genetic analysis which conflict. Some authors would call this plant Protasparagus densiflorus (Kunth) Oberm.

That analysis would seem to have more merit to my eyes than the lumping of the two.

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Quote from Vestia :


In my research to date, it would appear that there is no clear consensus on whether the East African and South African sp. are synonymous. There are two genetic analysis which conflict. Some authors would call this plant Protasparagus densiflorus (Kunth) Oberm.

That analysis would seem to have more merit to my eyes than the lumping of the two.


But that still doesn't excuse stating it to be a pteridophyte, when it isn't. Simple solution: don't promote inaccurate English names, stick to the same scientific rigour with English names that you do with Latin names.

Resin

Delhi, India

Yes resin
I have been arguing in all forums that we should rely on scientific names. But then this is gardeners' forum, where people would continue to use common English names. Here is California Arbutus unedo is known as Strawberry tree, Ginkgo biloba maidenhair tree, that does not make former strawberry or latter a maidenhair fern. People World over know Asparagus aethiopicus (mostly misapplied as A. densiflorus) as Asparagus fern, since plant gives appearance of a fern. We can't help it for the sake of common people who have interest in garden plants, but fear (and I say there is majority of them) scientific names. Yes when we are in a scientific forums I prefer scientific names with author name, otherwise there is bound to be great confusion.

This message was edited Jan 6, 2013 3:24 PM

San Francisco, CA

Quote from Resin :


But that still doesn't excuse stating it to be a pteridophyte, when it isn't. Simple solution: don't promote inaccurate English names, stick to the same scientific rigour with English names that you do with Latin names.

Resin


Now you're just being obtuse. Re-read my comment above re: common names. Their use does not indicate a lack of rigor, but an acknowledgement that most people do call this plant "asparagus fern", and have done so for over 100 years.


Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

well. at ;east til the experts were confused enough to start sorting out the differences - I DO see the Protasparagus listing on this one more often

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Quote from Vestia :


Now you're just being obtuse. Re-read my comment above re: common names. Their use does not indicate a lack of rigor, but an acknowledgement that most people do call this plant "asparagus fern", and have done so for over 100 years.




No, you are failing in your duty to educate by continuing to use and promote the use of incorrect English names. Past mistakes need not - and should not - be continuously repeated.

Resin

Delhi, India

Two simple options
1. Be at peace with inappropriate English names, realizing that people will continue to use them.
2. Ask DG to delete all these English names from their website:
Gold Moss, Graveyard Moss for Sedum sarmentosum
Spanish Moss for Tillandsia usneoides
Rose Moss for Portulaca grandiflora
Air Moss for Tillandsia tricholepis
Ball Moss for Tillandsia recurvata
Irish Moss for Sagina subulata
Monkey Moss for Mimulus primuloides var. linearifolius
Golden Moss for Tanacetum parthenium
Fern Cycas, Fern Palm, Sago Palm for Cycas circinalis
Ground Pine for Lycopodium obscurum
Iron Range Screw Pine for Pandanus conicus
Little Prince's Pine Chimaphila menziesii
Dewy Pine for Drosophyllum lusitanicum
Soft-leaved Wild Pine for Tillandsia valenzuelana

And perhaps thousands others
I would advocate to be in peace with these inappropriate names as also with Asparagus fern.


Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

No, one should not 'make peace' with errors and lies. Just use and promote sensible, accurate English names instead. Same as has been done in Britain and most / all other European countries for the last 150 years or so. All that is needed is effective education. See e.g. the official list from the Botanical Society of the British Isles: http://www.bsbi.org.uk/BSBI2007.xls (excel file). Don't give in to the creationists with their agenda of dissociating science from 'common' people and their native languages.

Resin

San Francisco, CA

On your British list I see many common names that could lead to confusion:
"strawberry stonenwort" for Chara fragifera, not a strawberry
"parsley fern" for a fern, not a parsley
"holly fern" for another fern, not a Ilex
"Douglas' fir" for a tree that is not an Aibes
"tulip tree" for a Magnolia, not relation to Tulipa
"lenten rose" for a Helleborus with nothing to do with Rosa

I think you can see that even this "official" list includes many accepted common names that are not entirely consistent and logical.

(Zone 7a)

I've been away for awhile but it's good to know the entertainment continues...

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Quote from Vestia :
On your British list I see many common names that could lead to confusion:
"strawberry stonenwort" for Chara fragifera, not a strawberry
"parsley fern" for a fern, not a parsley
"holly fern" for another fern, not a Ilex
"Douglas' fir" for a tree that is not an Aibes
"tulip tree" for a Magnolia, not relation to Tulipa
"lenten rose" for a Helleborus with nothing to do with Rosa

I think you can see that even this "official" list includes many accepted common names that are not entirely consistent and logical.



Absolutely not at all. You are completely (and wilfully?) failing to understand the construction of names. They do not suggest what you claim at all, any more than the name Picea abies implies it is a species of Abies. "Parley Fern" (a species of fern) is not the same as [theoretical] "Fern Parsley" (a species of parsley). And read again; the hellebore is hyphenated; it is not called "Lenten Rose" but "Lenten-rose" - not the same.

I'll grant there is an error in "Douglas Fir", it should be Douglas-fir, same as USDA uses to indicate it is not an Abies.

Resin

edit: typo

This message was edited Jan 7, 2013 6:37 PM

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

I have no desire to be lumped into a Brit of any continent- moot presence accepted. I am quite fond of my uniqueness, aware that in many eyes I fail to measure up to their tape measure- BUT- I fit my spot and allow others to shine in theirs, kinda seems like plants have the same problem with fitting their niche andand staying in one set pattern. I personally love Resins ability to master his language and plant knowledge, but also desire NOT to lose the common names that leave us feeling like we are still being challenged- Guys? There's room to grow.

Delhi, India

English names are going to stay like that
If we really want to change some thing, let us try to rectify the mistakes (in many cases blunders) in The Plant List. I have already sent them six or seven mails listing more than 1000 mistakes. And these mistakes are not simple. Both Hibiscus tiliaceus L. and Talipriti tliaceum (L.) Fryxell are treated as accepted names, latter (and there are thousands of such examples) does not have a basionym as a synonym. And to Know that this listing is largely controlled by Kew staff.

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Quote from singhg45 :
English names are going to stay like that


Actually, they're not. All it needs is for field guide, etc., authors to agree to use the same list (as happens here, with everyone following the BSBI list), and in a few years the old incorrect names disappear into forgotten history.

Resin

PS agree the Plant List is full of errors!

Olympia, WA

Quote from Resin :
No, one should not 'make peace' with errors and lies. Just use and promote sensible, accurate English names instead. Same as has been done in Britain and most / all other European countries for the last 150 years or so. All that is needed is effective education. See e.g. the official list from the Botanical Society of the British Isles: http://www.bsbi.org.uk/BSBI2007.xls (excel file). Don't give in to the creationists with their agenda of dissociating science from 'common' people and their native languages.

Resin


Thank you, Resin. I agree totally!!!!

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