This weed spreads into bushland from dumping or by invasion from adjoining gardens.
If left the plant eventually forms a dense mat of tuberous roots which suppress
the growth of indigenous plants. It has long, prickly, arching stems which can
grow up to 2 m long. The red berries drop off the long stems and ensure the
plant’s constant survival and spread.
Asparagus Fern is a
South African plant, and not a fern at all but in the Lily family. It is a dense
scrambler with small pink flowers in late summer, followed by red berries in
winter/early spring. These berries are very attractive to birds, particularly
Currawongs, who help spread it far and wide.
Control & Removal Methods
The whole plant can be dug out with a mattock, or with a
knife if it is a small plant. But probably the easiest method is to cut off the
long stems (remember the plant is prickly so wear thick gardening gloves) and
place them in a bin or bag for the green waste collection, particularly if there
is any fruit on them, whether green or red. Then, with a sharp knife, “crown
it”, that is, cut around the woody root base removing the centre of the plant. The
rhizomes and “bubbles” (water-like tubers) can be left in the ground where they will
The best time to remove the plant is at flowering time or
before any fruit forms, then the long stems can be left to dry and later used as
mulch. The “crown” must be disposed of in the green waste collection along with
any seedlings that can be removed whole. Remember to check the area every so
often for any seedlings that have grown from dropped berries.