From the Greek aspharagos, the name given to the edible Asparagus. A wide-spread genus which is greatly in need of revision. The root-system is an important character in the grouping, but owing to the inadequacy of the existing descriptions and the imperfection of the type specimens, correct identification is often very difficult. The flowering seasons seem to depend very largely on habitat. Some of the spiny species are called Wag-’n-bietjie.
Etymology of capensis:
From the Cape Province of South Africa, previously known as the Cape Colony. -ensis is a Latin adjectival suffix meaning “pertaining to or “originating in,” Thus these organisms were first discovered in the Cape. In the early days of exploration this epithet was frequently applied to anywhere in South Africa or even Southern Africa
Erect spiny shrub to 1 m, stems brush-like, with spines in threes. Cladodes mostly 5 in clusters, sublinear, hairy. Flowers 1 or 2 on an apical disc, tepals and filaments spreading. Mainly Apr.--Aug. Rocky slopes, NW, SW, AP, KM, LB, SE (S Namibia to Transkei).