Foxtail asparagus is an ornamental plant, native and naturalised in the region of South Africa, where it is protected from animals by the toxicity of its leaves when ingested. Its Latin name is Asparagus, from the Greek sparassein, 'to tear'. Its specific epithet densiflorus refers to the high density of leaves and flowers per stem. This particularity gives it the common name of foxtail.
In Central Europe it is usually known as Sprenger's asparagus due to the work carried out by the German floriculturist Carl Ludwig Sprenger (1846-1917), an honourable botanist and master of hybridisation of species and germination of seeds, who made it a valuable ornamental plant and introduced it into European gardening in the second half of the 19th century, even though it had been described by Kunth at the beginning of the same century.