I've mentioned before my mom's affinity for Asparagus ferns. My mother-in-law also has a wonderful Asparagus fern that I was not really familiar with until I saw hers. Since then I have seen it growing in a couple of other places, but it is not very common for some reason - possibly because it is less hardy. My mom's plants (Asparagus densiflorus) can usually survive our harsh Oklahoma winters in the garage and will sprout new foliage in the spring. A little farther south of us, the plants can be left in the ground year-round. This year, even the garage in Oklahoma got too cold for them.
The plant my mother-in-law has is Asparagus macowanii and is sometimes called Ming Fern. She has had the plant for many years, but it has only been the last couple of years that it has really started to take off. It has broken several pots open with the force of it's ever-expanding root system!
Recently when I was at my parents-in-law's house I saw this huge stem growing out of the pot. The new stems do look very much like edible Asparagus (see the picture below). After this thick stem grew several feet long it produced blooms, followed by the regular fine foliage of this interesting plant.
There was a small division of this plant that I easily removed and have potted for myself. Maybe someday I will have a monster plant to match!
|My mother-in-law's Asparagus macowanii two years ago.|
|My mother-in-law's Asparagus macowanii now.|
|Stems and roots of the Asparagus macowanii. The greenish stem in the bottom left corner is the newest growth.|
|New shoot from the Asparagus macowanii at the Myriad Gardens. You can see how much this looks like the edible Asparagus.|
|Asparagus macowanii new leaves or flowers|