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Plantidote of the Day 2010-12-29

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asparagus fern

Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri'

Asparagus fern

In spite of its name, this plant is actually a distant relative of the vegetable we know as asparagus. And the fern part is just flat out wrong. The green things that appear to be the fern leaves are really short branches called cladodes. They're soft to the touch, but be careful! The stems are also loaded with sharp thorns that can be used to climb walls or a trellis. The green berries were tiny white flowers in the spring. Now they'll all turn red as they ripen. A very pretty combination, but the berries are poisonous to both cats and dogs.

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Readers, please send twig (twig4now@gmail.com) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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