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