Ming asparagus fern (Asparagus macowanii var. zuluensis)

WEED ALERT: REGIONALLY 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
Also known as: pom-pom asparagus, zig-zag asparagus

Profile

Impact

Ming asparagus fern has the potential to invade a wide range of coastal and sub-coastal plant communities from north-east Queensland to eastern South Australia, and south-west Western Australia.

It strongly competes with native ground cover and understorey plants by forming dense infestations that can smother, and prevent the germination and establishment of other species.

It can attain very large and continuous infestations.

Distribution

Ming asparagus fern is a native of south-eastern Africa. It was introduced into Australia as an ornamental plant and was first recorded naturalised in 2001 near Brisbane. It is now naturalised in coastal and sub-coastal areas of south-east Queensland and very sparingly down to central New South Wales.

Spread

Ming asparagus fern primarily reproduces from seed, but can also spread vegetatively from the roots.

The main growth period is from autumn through to spring, but green foliage is present year-round. Flowering chiefly occurs in spring and early summer. Fruit set occurs from spring to summer, but fruit can be present year-round.

Fruit are spread by birds, foxes, reptiles and other animals that can deposit seeds far from the parent plants. Fruit are also spread by water and dumping garden waste.

Vegetative spread is primarily by people dumping garden waste.

Description

Ming asparagus fern is a shrubby plant with a fern-like appearance, usually growing 1-2 m tall; although it occasionally grows to 3 m.

The root system consists of relatively short, fleshy, tuberous roots.

Older stems are pale grey to whitish and have small spines.

Leaf-like cladodes (modified stems) are needle-like, hairless, usually slightly curved, 12-25 mm long and about 0.5 mm wide. They are borne in cluster of 20-30 along the stems; the clusters somewhat resemble pom poms.

Flowers are small, bisexual (both male and female parts present), white to cream, borne on short stalks and arranged in dense clusters. They are produced in large numbers for a short period in summer.

Berries are 6-10 mm in diameter, rounded, green at first and turning purple to pinkish-red or with a bluish bloom to black as they mature. Fruit are borne year round.

Habitat

Ming asparagus fern prefers semi-shaded situations.

It is primarily found in the understorey of drier forests, but has the potential to invade riparian areas, forest margins, open woodlands, urban bushland, coastal environs, roadsides, disturbed sites and waste areas. 

Acknowledgements

Author: Harry Rose

Reviewers: Rod Ensbey, Elissa van Oosterhout

References

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, Sydney. 

Technigro (2011) Weed Watch: Ming asparagus fern. Available at: http://www.technigro.com.au/Ming%20asparagus%20fern%20-%20web.pdf 

Other publications

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Control

Ming asparagus fern is banned from sale, propagation and knowing distribution across all of NSW. It is a Regionally Prohibited, notifiable noxious weed in many council areas. This declaration requires that plants must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant. Suspected plants should be reported to the local council weeds officer for assistance with positive identification, control and removal.

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 glyphosate in 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 in 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 - 2g 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 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.

Area Class Legal requirements
Bayside 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Bellingen 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Blue Mountains 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Burwood 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Camden 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Campbelltown 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Canada Bay 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Canterbury-Bankstown 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Central Coast 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Cessnock 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Clarence Valley 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Coffs Harbour 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Cumblerland 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Dungog 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Fairfield 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Georges River 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Hawkesbury River County Council 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Hornsby 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Hunters Hill 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Inner West 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Kempsey 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Ku-ring-gai 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Lake Macquarie 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Lane Cove 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Liverpool 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Lord Howe Island 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Maitland 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Mid-Coast 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Mosman 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Nambucca 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Newcastle 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
North Sydney 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Northern Beaches 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Parramatta 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Port Macquarie-Hastings 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Port Stephens 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Randwick 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Rous County Council 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Ryde 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Shoalhaven 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Strathfield 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Sutherland 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Sydney 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Upper Hunter County Council 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Waverley 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Willoughby 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Wollondilly 2 Regionally Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant
Woollahra 2 Regionally 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 2015