Climbing Asparagus

South Africa

General description

Scrambling & climbing plant; can also grow in trees as epiphyte. Slender, extensively branched stems wrap around small trees & saplings. Fine, fern-like foliage, small, delicate leaves attached to hook vines. Tiny white flowers (Sept-Dec). Many round, berries ripen green to red-orange.

Very shade tolerant: interiors of undamaged & modified forest, forest edges.

Birds spread seed. Vegetative spread by tubers.

Kills host plants by smothering or ring barking. Carpets the forest floor preventing regrowth of native seedlings.Fast growing, rapid coloniser.

Site management

Maintain rolling front of control, work in from edge of infestation. Follow up at least 6-monthly. Replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover & minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

1. Use vial treatment. Cut stems above ground, insert ends into vials of glyphosate (10 ml/30 ml water), dig out all roots & tubers.
2. Weed wipe (300ml glyphosate/1L water, no penetrant, total coverage not required).
3. Spray lightly spring-early summer, avoid runoff, total coverage not required (200ml glyphosate/10L. Do not add penetrant when spraying against tree trunks).
Spray autumn- winter only in frost-free areas on healthy growth, (increase rate to 300ml glyphosate/ 10L).

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

asparagus fern
Asparagus setaceus

Asparagus fern is more branched and has more than 3 cladodes at each stem node. The berries are purple-black.

bushy asparagus
Asparagus aethiopicus

Bushy asparagus cladodes are spiny in comparison to the finer cladodes of climbing asparagus.

Asparagus asparagoides

Smilax cladodes are wider and are arranged alternately along the stem. There is only one cladode per stem node.

RPMS status

Surveillance - Whole Region
Community Initiatives - Whole Region
National Pest Plant Accord species - nationwide
climbing asparagus - Main species image