Bridal veil creeper (Asparagus declinatus)

WEED ALERT: STATE PROHIBITED WEED
If you see this plant contact your council weeds officer, the NSW Invasive Plants & Animals Enquiry Line 1800 680 244 or email weeds@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Profile

Impact

Bridal veil creeper is a highly invasive environmental weed that that produces thick tuberous root masses and dense foliage, smothering and out-competing surrounding vegetation.

Its impacts are similar to bridal creeper (Asparagus asparagoides), however bridal veil creeper has proven more difficult to control.

It currently infests coastal environments and urban bushland, and is a potential weed of roadsides, waterways, waste areas, open woodlands and closed forests.

If not controlled, bridal veil has the potential to become a severe threat to biodiversity in coastal areas of southern Australia.

Distribution

Bridal veil creeper is a native of the south-west region of South Africa. It was introduced into Australia around 1870 as an ornamental plant and first naturalised on the mainland in 1966.

Although currently known only from Western Australia and South Australia, its potential distribution is most of southern coastal Australia. It is not currently known to occur in NSW.

Spread

Bridal veil creeper reproduces from seed, and vegetatively from underground tubers and rhizomes.

Shoots begin to appear in autumn and scramble across the ground. With the onset of winter, shoots develop dense foliage. Foliage begins to wither and die as temperatures rise, usually in late spring. Over the hot summer months the underground tuberous roots survive without above ground foliage. 

Flowering occurs from mid to late winter. Green berries begin to form from late winter to early spring, maturing to pale green in late spring and early summer.

Fruit are primarily spread by birds, with possums and other ground-dwelling animals are potential means of spread. Fruit are also spread in water and garden waste.

Tubers and rhizomes are primarily spread by people dumping garden waste and on earth moving equipment.

Description

Bridal veil creeper is a scrambler or low climber with short-lived, thornless stems up to 3 m long.

The root system is extensive and long-lived, and consists of tubers and long rhizomes.

Leaf-like cladodes (modified stems) are densely arranged in groups of 3 along short, finely-branched side shoots off a wiry, main stem. The cladodes are blue-green, soft, needle-shaped, 3–10 mm long and less than 1 mm wide.

Flowers are greenish-white and 5-8 mm in diameter.

Berries are about 10 mm in diameter; initially light green, but turning pale white as they mature. There are 3-9 seeds in a berry; each about 3 mm wide and black when ripe.

Acknowledgements

Text compilation: Harry Rose

Technical review: Rod Ensbey

Editing: Elissa van Oosterhout

References

Invasive Species Compendium (2014) Asparagus declinatus. Available at http://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/112476 

Lawrie S (2004) Biology, Ecology and Dispersal Vectors of Bridal Veil (Asparagus declinatus). School of Geography, Population and Environmental Management, Flinders University and Asparagus Weeds Working Group - Southern Hills Region, Adelaide, South Australia. Available at http://www.weeds.org.au/WoNS/bridalcreeper/docs/SLawrie_BridalVeilPresweb.pdf 

Lawrie, S. (2006) Bridal Veil. In National Asparagus Weeds Management Committee, Asparagus Weeds - Best Practice Management Manual. Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation, South Australia. Available at http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/publications/guidelines/manuals/asparagus-weeds-manual.html 

Office of Environment and Heritage (2013) Asparagus weeds management manual: current management and control options for asparagus weeds (Asparagus spp.) in Australia. Office of  Environment and Heritage (NSW)

Weeds in Australia: Asparagus declinatus.  http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/weeddetails.pl?taxon_id=66908 

Other publications

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Control

Physical control

Bridal veil seedlings or small plants can be hand pulled in small to medium sized infestations.

Plants can be dug out, but the entire root system needs to be removed.

Physical removal can be difficult, due to the way in which its root system can spread beneath the roots of nearby vegetation as well as other objects such as rocks, logs and other structures (e.g. fences).

Removal should be done in autumn and winter when soils are moist, pre-flowering / fruiting is best, and when plants have foliage on them.

Slashing or pulling off of above-ground foliage can be undertaken under some circumstances. However, it will not kill the plants and is not suitable for natural areas. It is usually undertaken around 6 months prior to spraying.

Individual plants within small infestations can be physically pulled or grubbed out. Take care to remove all parts of the plant, bag them for 2-3 months in the sun and then disposed of in a local government rubbish tip.

If plants can’t be fully removed then cutting back above-ground growth will minimise fruit development and weaken plants.

Bridal Veil can be kept at low levels by cattle and sheep grazing. However, it is not a preferred food source and so grazing should be considered as opportunistic and not relied upon for eradication.

There are currently no biological control agents for Bridal Veil.

Herbicide control

Herbicide applications are recommended for medium to large infestations, but can also be used for small infestations.

No herbicides are currently registered for this species, but certain herbicides may be able to be used under APVMA permits.

For best results, use a foliar spray during the winter to early spring flowering period when plants are actively growing.

Foliage often mingles with desirable vegetation, making off-target damage from foliar spraying problematic. The foliage also provides little surface area for chemical uptake.

Herbicide options

WARNING - ALWAYS READ THE LABEL
Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: 1 part glyphosat to 50 parts water
Comments: Spot spray application
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: 1 part glyphosate to 1.5 parts water
Comments: Cut stump / scrape stem application
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Brush-off®)
Rate: 1 - 2 g in 10 L of water plus a non-ionic surfactant
Comments: Spot spray application
Withholding period: Nil (recommended not to graze for 7 days before treatment and for 7 days after treatment to allow adequate chemical uptake in target weeds).
Herbicide group: B, Inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (ALS inhibitors)
Resistance risk: High


Picloram 44.7 g/kg + Aminopyralid 4.47 g/L (Vigilant II ®)
Rate: Undiluted
Comments: Cut stump / stem injection application
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


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Legal requirements

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Noxious Weeds Act 1993.

All species in the Asparagus genus are declared except Asparagus officinalis (edible asparagus) and Asparagus racemosus (native asparagus).

Area Class Legal requirements
All of NSW 1 State Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant

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Reviewed 2014