Diane, SC, hunting the Wild Asparagus

Hi again, Dr. Hill,
Thank you so much for your recent plant identifications. This plant is growing roadside on the SC Fall Line in part-to-full sun (photographed Aug. 6) in a location that will soon be mowed. It’s difficult to photograph well, since it consists of thin branches with wispy “leaves”. The berries are the most prominent visual part of the plant; without them it would be invisible. I saw one like it 3 years ago about half mile from this location and have always wondered if it could be native. Despite all its berries that promise a colony, I have only seen a single plant on each occasion.


Hi Diane,

always a pleasure to hear from you, and to look at your plants.  Believe it or not, your plant is an asparagus, Asparagus officinalis, the same one we eat as a vegetable.  The vegetable is the very young growing stem found in the spring.  The berries are spread by birds and so asparagus is sometimes found on roadsides and other areas, and is often called ‘wild asparagus’.  As far as I know the berries cannot be eaten safely.  They can sometimes be transplanted into a garden, but not until they start to go dormant in the autumn.  Otherwise, go out in the spring and cut off some nice wild asparagus for dinner!


Steve Hill, Botanist, SCNPS

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