Also known as asparagus fern, basket fern, Sprengeri’s fern or bush asparagus, A. aethiopicus is a sprawling low-growing shrub with long, prickly stems. It outcompetes native plants and reduces habitat for native animals. Easily identified, it produces small white flowers in late summer/early autumn followed by bright red berries which can be a useful ID tool to even the most novice bush regenerator in the making.
Where is it found?
Asparagus Fern was far and away the most common weed found on properties during the 2013 weed inspections in Forster. Originally popular as a garden and pot plant due to its striking foliage and hardy nature, it’s now a major problem in many areas of Australia. This is partly due to those tasty berries that our native birds and wildlife love to spread throughout our landscapes.
How to deal with it
Be careful to wear strong gloves when tackling Asparagus Fern, as it has many thorns along its wiry stems. To control Asparagus Fern, remove any stems with ripe or unripe berries, and dispose of in the red bin.
Then locate and remove the crown of the plant. The “crown” is the woody growth that all the stems and roots grow from. Removal is most easily done with a strong knife (gyprock saws work well), cutting the crown away from the roots.The roots and water-bearing tubers can be left in the ground, as they do not re-shoot. The crown should be disposed of in the red bin, stems without berries can be put in the green waste bin or compost.