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Plantidote of the Day 2011-11-04

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foxtail fern

Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers'

Myers asparagus, foxtail fern

A native of South Africa, foxtail fern does best in zones 9 through 12, although it can be grown indoors anywhere. Foxtail ferns are pretty much pest free and easy to grow in a sunny spot with good drainage. Don't be fooled by their soft, fluffy appearance, though. The fronds are covered with sharp thorns.

The neon-green, 2 to 3 foot long fronds get a little color in late summer or fall, when tiny white flowers ripen into bright red fruit. The fruit is toxic, but you can save the seeds that are inside and use them to grow more plants. (Since foxtail fern is a member of the lily family, it doesn't propagate by spores, as real ferns do.) Or you can simply dig them up, divide the tubers and replant.

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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; chanterelles), 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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