Asparagus (L. name Asparagus Officinalis) is a perennial flowering plant. The young stems of the plants are edible and eaten as spring vegetables.
These succulent spring stalks are nutrient-rich and contain folate, fiber, Vitamin K, C, and A.
But do you know several weeds look like asparagus? Read on to learn how to identify them quickly.
Asparagus Look-Alike Weeds
It may be challenging to identify these weeds during the early growth stages. However, similarities fade out as the plants grow fully.
Scientific name: Reynoutria japonica
Japanese Knotweed is not only similar to asparagus in appearance but also in taste. It savors just like it when cooked but should not be eaten raw.
A notable similarity is visible during the early sprouting days in April. Japanese knotweed stems appear reddish-purple and have Asparagus-like fat spears.
Nonetheless, all resemblance starts fading as the plant proliferates (it can grow up to 2 cm every day) and soon outgrows the surrounding plants with heart-shaped leaves.
This Asparagus-looking weed can turn harmful to residential and commercial properties from this stage onwards.
Scientific name: Agave americana
Yes, Agave stalks belong to the same family as asparagus, and some similarities are natural. When fully grown, the agave plant looks like giant asparagus.
It begins as a flower spike in the early spring from the middle of the rosette-like leaf structure. These spikes grow till the flower spike starts resembling an Asparagus spear.
Finally, the closeness ends when the flower on the spike starts blooming. Agave stalks are considered a highly invasive species in several parts of Australia and the rest of the world.
Scientific name: Equisetum arvense
Horsetail is a weed that looks like Asparagus fern. The only closeness with asparagus is visible in stems that closely resemble the former.
Nonetheless, it is a highly invasive weed capable of growing on a range of ground surfaces, from boggy ground to sand dunes.
Also, the notorious weed stems out fast, can re-sprout from underground stems, and is highly resistant to herbicides.
Scientific name: Equisetum arvense
Asparagus fern is named due to the fronds that look like asparagus stalks. The plant may appear like asparagus initially, but you know it’s something entirely different as you watch closely.
Though mostly kept as an ornamental plant, it is considered invasive in Florida, Hawaii, and New Zealand. The ‘fern’ word is also a misnomer as Asparagus Fern reproduces by seed and not by spores like ferns.
Blue Wild Indigo
Scientific name: Baptisia australis
Blue wild indigo or indigo weed grows near streams and several wooded areas across the United States. It belongs to the family Fabaceae (legumes).
This upright flowering plant can grow up to 4 meters and looks like asparagus during development.
The new sprouts are gray to purple and look like asparagus stalks. But unlike the latter, you cannot eat them as they are poisonous.
The weed is reported to be toxic for grazing animals too. However, the plants are beneficial for the environment and help conserve water.
Why Should You Be Bothered About Plants And Grass That Looks like Asparagus?
Knowing what weeds or grasses look like asparagus firsthand saves you from potential trouble. Even though they are not life-threatening, they may harm you and your property.
We will explain this with an example. For instance, while you can eat asparagus raw, the same is not suggested for Japanese Knotweed. The Asparagus-looking weed is non-toxic and non-poisonous, but eating it raw can lead to skin irritation.
Similarly, other plants have some closeness to asparagus, which can be mistaken and misunderstood. I hope this article helps you differentiate the real from the unreal.