(Also known as Ground Asparagus)
Type of weed: With underground regrowth structures
Flower colour(s): Cream
Priority Weed State Priority Weed. (See more weeds of the State Priority Weed class.)
Flowering Months: January, February, September, October, November, December
A ground cover with long arching prickly stems up to 2 m long, commonly grown as an ornamental plant.
Starch-bearing tubers are present, but do not regrow or reproduce.
It has light green slender leaves.
Clusters of small, creamy flowers appear spring to summer.
Fruits are up to 8 mm in diameter and ripen in September and October to bright red, each containing a single, black, round seed.
Don’t confuse with…
This plant can be confused with two related weeds:
- Climbing Asparagus Fern (Asparagus plumosus)
- Bridal Veil Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides)
Asparagus Fern spreads by underground rhizomes (in dumped garden waste) and through seed dispersal by birds.
Impact on bushland
Plants spread over native species creating thick areas of asparagus fern.
Lower Blue Mountains, Upper Blue Mountains. Mainly in the Lower Mountains.
Alternative plantings for spiky bird habitat include:
- Lomandra longifolia
Native peaflowers include:
- Daviesia ulicifolia
- Oxylobium ilicifolium
Suitable native groundcovers include:
- Dianella caerulea
- Native sarsaparilla (Hardenbergia violacea)
- Creeping Boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium)
- Kennedia spp
Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.
There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.
Gently remove and bag seeds or fruit. Push a narrow trowel or knife into the ground next to the tap root. Carefully loosen soil. Repeat this step around the tap root. Grasp stem at ground level, rock plant backwards and forwards and pull gently. Softly tap the roots to dislodge soil. Replace disturbed soil and pat down lightly.
Note: Herbicides that may be used for this weed include Metsulfuron methyl.
Please consult the Herbicide page of this website to help you decide whether to spray, how to do it safely and more.
Extra considerations for weeds with underground reproductive structures
- Further digging may be required for plants with more than one tuber. Some bulbs may have small bulbils attached or present in the soil around them. These need to be removed. It may be quicker and more effective to dig weeds out.
- Learn and understand how the herbicide works. For bulb and corm species the most effective time is after flowering and before fruit has set.
Specific control tips for this weed
- Crown the fibrous roots of the plant making sure to remove all of the flattened horny crown at the top of the root system (the rhizome that forms the base of the ‘above ground’ plant); the water tubers can be left in the ground as they won’t regrow neither will the small fibrous roots, or
- Spray with herbicide only if it is possible to avoid contact with desirable plants or soil near tree root zones.
Note: Spraying climbers is only effective in limited situations, where there is dense foliage and it is not too high; otherwise most of the spray will disperse and miss the target weed.
Do not damage native vegetation by pulling vines from trees, it is best to let the vines die and break down slowly.
Because the berries are bird spread, it is best treat plants before they fruit. Bag any fruit and dispose of in a hot compost to kill the seeds.
For key points on these techniques:
State Priority Weed
- The plant must be eradicated from the land and be kept fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed; and the land must be kept free of the plant.
- If the weed is part of a new infestation of the weed on the land, notify the local control authority as soon as practicable.