Weed of the Week: Asparagus fern

Common name: Asparagus fern

Scientific name: Asparagus aethiopicus

How to identify the weed: Commonly found in backyards this weeds is a low-growing, herbaceous perennial with arching, spiny stems up to 2m long with creeping underground stems and tubers.  Waxy pale green fern-like ‘leaves’ up to 2.5cm, singley or in clusters.  Its small white or pink flowers are borne in clusters.  Small round, glossy berries can be present all year round, turning from green to red as they ripen.

Why is the weed a problem: Introduced from southern Africa, this plant readily adapts to most conditions forming a dense thicket that smothers understorey vegetation and prevents natural regeneration.  It is quickly spread to new areas through dumping of garden waste and birds consuming the berries.

How to manage the weed: Remove the crown of the plant by cutting the bulk of the roots from the ground with a sharp knife and dispose of the entire plant. For more information, please contact IndigiScapes on 3824 8611.

Any other interesting facts: The underground tubers only store water and play no part in reproduction.

Asparagus fern

2 thoughts on “Weed of the Week: Asparagus fern

  1. Linda

    Can you tell me if Fig trees are considered a pest? Our back neighbour has planted one on the fence line and we are concerned about root invasion, as the sewerage main runs about 1m inside the back fence. It is growing very quickly and we would like to know what we should do. Thanks for your advice.

  2. admin Post author

    Hi Linda

    There are around 45 species of figs that are native to Australia and approximately 7 are native to the Redlands. They are not considered weeds however they are typically a rainforest plant, and can grow quite large – making them in some instances not ideal for some backyards. Some species do have invasive roots systems. Root barriers can be purchased from landscape suppliers to help prevent encroachment of invasive roots from your neighbour.

    There are also two species of ‘sandpaper’ figs (easily recognised by the rough leaves – as the name suggests) that are much smaller and pose a reduced risk.

    We can suggest talking to your neighbour about their tree and suggesting getting in touch with our Redlands IndigiScapes Centre for advice.

    You or your neighbour can bring a few leaves down to IndigiScapes if you’d like the species identified, if unknown.

    We also recommend speaking with your neighbour about the tree before it gets too large and costly to relocate or remove. The state government has a great fact sheet at http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/134893/resolving-neighbourhood-disputes-trees.pdf that goes through your rights when it comes to disputes about trees on private land.


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