Weed Identification

Australia > > Climbing Asparagus

Climbing Asparagus

Asparagus plumosus


Alternative Name(s): Asparagus setaceus misapplied, Protasparagus plumosus, Ferny Asparagus.

Family: Asparagaceae.

Form: Vine

Origin: Native of South Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Greenish white, bell-shaped, 57 mm wide. Flowers spring to autumn.

Description: Wiry perennial scrambler with fibrous rhizomes and roots, aerial parts to 5 m high on supporting vegetation. Stems to many metres long. Leaves reduced to spine-like scales that are not hardened, mostly <5 mm long and are found at the base of leaf-like cladodes. Seeds 2.53.5 mm wide.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by main roots swollen on young plants, tubers not formed; thread-like cladodes 27 mm long and about 0.1 mm wide, in clusters of 815; lateral branches arranged in the same plane; flowers single or paired at ends of lateral branches; petal-like tepals not joined; fleshy berries green at first, ripening black, 45 mm wide, 1-seeded.

Dispersal: Seeds spread by birds and water. Rhizomes and fruit containing seeds also spread in dumped garden waste.

Confused With: Other fern-like Asparagus species particularly Asparagus africanus but that species has mature orange fruit.

Thread-like cladodes arranged in the
same plane as branches

Notes: Aggressive weed of urban bushland in tropical and subtropical areas.


    Noxious Weeds of Australia.W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 4950. Flora of NSW.G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, page 46. Bush Invaders of South-East Australia. A. Nuyt, 2001, pages 123125.

Cladodes in clusters of c. 15

Mature black fruit 5mm wide

Root system

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card V16

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.


Australia > > Climbing Asparagus


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