fern of many names, need one desperately

Chelsea, MI

I had a fern for 35+ years which was frozen to death in a move.

I've seen it identified it here as asparagus fern, sprengeri, densiflorus, retrofractus, sickle thorn, and meyersii, et al.

What I had, had thorns, no flowers or seeds (ever!), increased in size by itself in a pot, could be divided and transplanted easily, had stems which became as thick as 1/2", had to be trimmed back at about 4' so it would still fit in the house, lived outdoors in summer very happily, and the foliage was very soft when new, but dropped constantly and was sharp enough to stick in your bare foot easily once it turned brown on the floor. Along with dropping constantly, you could actually vacuum the thing to remove the "excess" foliage, turn your back for 30 seconds, and it would have dropped more.

The only reason I need another one is that my husband called it our "marriage fern", and is heartbroken since it died. (Honestly, it was a plant, people. They die, okay? You can't tell him that, though.)

I have searched every book, website, garden/nursery/heirloom plant store, anything and everything you can name. I am begging for help. I don't have anything to trade (black thumb, here) but I will happily pay for one, including shipping and packaging, if somebody can just tell me what I lost, and if they have one.

Thank you for just reading this.


Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Chris if you have a picture that would help a lot.. but from your description it's certainly an Asparagus and not a fern, but there are many types, perhaps if you look into PF under Genus: Asparagus you might find 'yours'..:)

Fredericksburg, VA(Zone 7a)


Is this it? This is a Plumosa Fern (as I know it), and mine does have thorns, and does shed, especially if it gets too dry. Hope this helps!


Thumbnail by VA_Wild_Rose
Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Is this it?

That's certainly an asparagus, not a fern.


Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

As long as the popular names of all the Asparagus species keep the term 'fern' in it the confusion will understandably not stop! :(

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

So the time to stop is now!

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Agreed! ;)

Fredericksburg, VA(Zone 7a)

Pardon me for insulting anyone... that was not my intention. I am simply attempting to help the original writer find the plant that she so desperately wants to replace. I am aware too, that it is not a fern... but it does get categorized as one. If I have helped her to identify the plant, then I have succeeded in being helpful... which is what she asked for! If it is not her plant, then I at least tried! I certainly wasn't trying to cause a terminology war, or cause someone to lose sleep tonight!



Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

I'm so sorry Wild Rose if you thought it was meant as an insult to you! :(
It's not your fault that the popular names are so misleading! Your helpfulness is very much appreciated! :)
The remarks were only meant in general!

Fredericksburg, VA(Zone 7a)

Thank you.... I am just trying to be helpful... as so many others here at DG have done for me.

San Diego, CA(Zone 10b)

Chris is it this one?


Huntersville, NC

Hi there! Ive read your plight.

ive noticed the name issues especially with ferns too.

some Fern Websites have been added as a Sticky at the beginning for this Fern forum.

Maybe your fern can be located here.

Good Luck!

and do let us know what you find.

Stevens Point, WI

Hi. I think what you had was the same thing I have had in the past. Most places just call it Asparagus Fern, but its not really a fern. And the one I think you want is not the Foxtail, which grows differently than you one you (and I) had. Not Plumerosa either. Asparagus Densiflorus is the actual name. Has thorns, sheds all the time, grows like crazy, and gets huge. I had one outside (in the shade) when I lived in Phx that grew into a rather large bush/small tree, which amazed me! I have seen small ones of these at Walmart, Kmart, etc...plus every greenhouse I have been to. It should be easy to find one. ChuLin Oh, mine did get berries occassionally, which are poisonous to childern and pets.

Waterman, IL(Zone 5a)

I agree, it's an easy plant to find in any Lowe's or the like, or neighborhood greenhouse.

Huntersville, NC

the internet is the only way to really get the unusual, unique, rare or hard to find plants - or any other widgets.

then again that still puts you back to correctly identifying it - first.

have you tried reviewing/looking at hordes of google (and other internet sites) plant pics??

There are also numerous fern websites listed at Sticky at the beginning fo this forum. While your beloved plant may not be a fern - considering the name issue they may still very aware of your plant too.
Sites offer contact info for further help.

the fern I LUV - im discovering there are at least 8 with the identical name.
so pics really helped me.

keep us posted!

This message was edited Sep 13, 2009 11:03 AM

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