Asparagus - sicklethorn (Asparagus falcatus)

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

Profile

Impact

Sicklethorn has the potential to invade a wide range of coastal plant communities from south-east Queensland to the central coast of New South Wales.

Its stems climb over and smother native vegetation up to 6 m tall.

It also strongly competes by forming a dense mat of tuberous roots that can prevent the germination and establishment of other species.

It can attain very large and continuous infestations.

Distribution

Sicklethorn is a native of western, eastern and southern Africa, Sri Lanka, the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean. It is widely cultivated and naturalised elsewhere in the world.

It was introduced into Australia as an ornamental plant.

It is now sparingly naturalised on the coast from south-east Queensland to Sydney.

Spread

Sicklethorn primarily reproduces from seed, but can also spread vegetatively from tubers.

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

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

Longer distance vegetative spread is primarily by dumping of garden waste.

Description

Sicklethorn is a robust climber to 6 m tall.

The root system has short rhizomes and forms swollen tubers.

Stems originate from a basal crown that may be to more than 30 cm in diameter. Stems become woody with age and have sharp, stout thorns that curve backwards.

Leaf-like cladodes (modified stems) are produced in clusters of 3-6 at the nodes. They are shiny, dark green, straight or slightly sickle shaped (hence the common name), hairless, elongate, 30-90 mm long, 3-5 mm wide and present year-round.

Flowers are small, bisexual (both male and female parts present), white, borne on short stalks in slightly elongated clusters in the axils of the cladodes. Flowers occur from spring to early summer.

Berries are 1-3-seeded, 7-10 mm in diameter, green at first and bright red at maturity. Fruit are borne year round.

Habitat

Sicklethorn prefers moist, semi-shaded conditions in sub-tropical regions.

Seed can germinate in conditions from full sun to greater than 80% canopy closure.

It is common near human habitation and is primarily found in riparian habitats, wet sclerophyll forest, swamp oak and subtropical rainforest communities. 

Acknowledgements

Author: Harry Rose

Reviewers: Rod Ensbey, Elissa van Oosterhout

References

Brisbane City Council Weed Identification Tool: Sicklethorn (Asparagus falcatus). http://weeds.brisbane.qld.gov.au/weeds/sicklethorn-asparagus-falcatus 

Brown BM (2008) Asparagus falcatus. http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantab/asparagusfal.htm  

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. 

Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW) Plant Database (2014) Asparagus falcatus. http://www.plantdatabase.co.uk/Asparagus_falcatus 

Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (2011). Sicklethorn - Asparagus falcatus, Queensland Government. Available at: . http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/03030800-0b07-490a-8d04-0605030c0f01/media/Html/Asparagus_falcatus.htm  

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Control

Sicklethorn 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 who will assist 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 (Weed Control) Order 2014 published in the NSW Government Gazette, detailing weeds declared noxious in New South Wales, Australia, under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993. The Order lists the weed names, the control class and the control requirements for each species declared in a Local Control Authority area.

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
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