Weed Identification

Australia > > Ground Asparagus

Ground Asparagus

Asparagus aethiopicus

THIS PLANT HAS BEEN DECLARED A WEED OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE

Alternative Name(s): Basket Asparagus, Sprenger's Asparagus, Asparagus Fern, Protasparagus aethiopicus, Protasparagus densiflorus (misapplied), Asparagus densiflorus (misapplied).

Family: Asparagaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of southern and eastern Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: White or pale pink, bell-shaped to 4 mm long and located in groups (racemes) arising at the base of membranous bracts. Flowers spring to autumn.

Description: Perennial shrub or scrambler, growing from thick tuberous roots formed on the rhizomes (see photo). Fruit a berry to 8 mm wide containing 1 to a few black seeds about 4 mm in diameter.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by thin (linear) flattened stems to 3 mm wide and to 2.5 cm long that assume the form and function of a leaf (cladodes) and berries that ripen red.

Dispersal: Readily grows from pieces and spreads into the bush from dumped garden waste. Seeds spread by birds and water.


Ripe fruit & 'leaves' which are
flattened stems (cladodes)

Notes: Persistent weed of urban bushland. Shade tolerant and grows best in shaded areas where other vegetation has been removed. Often found growing near abandoned houses or near habitation where pieces have been dumped. Continues to be sold as an ornamental in southern states and its range is increasing.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 4748. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, page 46. Weeds. B. Auld and R. Medd, 1987, page 30.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Tubers, rhizomes
& roots

Juvenile growth

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H03

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

 

Australia > > Ground Asparagus

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