Foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus)

Also known as: Meyersii fern, Meyers fern, Foxtail asparagus

Foxtail fern has dense foliage and root mats that prevent other plants from growing. It is an ornamental plant that can invade native bushland.

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How does this weed affect you?

Foxtail fern grows dense foliage and root mats that suppress other plants.  It can become a serious weed of bushland.

Foxtail fern, also known by other names including Meyersii fern, is now classified as a cultivar of Asparagus densiflorus. Previously it was included with the species known as Asparagus aethiopicus

What does it look like?

The cultivar Meyersii is a spreading ground cover with upright stems. It has dense foliage that look like foxtails. 

Flowers are:
  • very small
  • white or pale pink
  • fragrant.
Fruit are:
  • shiney round berries
  • green ripening to orange-red
  • up to 1 cm wide
  • with a single black seed.
Leaves (modified stems called cladodes) are:
  • bright green
  • short
  • needle-like.
Roots are:
  • long and fibrous
  • have creamish oval tubers
  • with rhizomes.

The non cultivated form of foxtail fern has similar features to the cultivated form except the stems are longer and spread along the ground rather that stand upright.  The foliage is also not as tightly arranged.

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Control

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 31/03/2025
Fluroxypyr 333 g/L (Starane™ Advanced)
Rate: 300 to 600 mL in 100 L of water
Comments: Spot spray application
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: 1 part glyphosate to 50 parts water
Comments: Spot spray application, best done between flowering and berries forming.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: 1 part glyphosate to 1.5 parts water
Comments: Cut stump/scrape stem.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L with Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Various products)
Rate: Tank mix of up to 2 L glyphosate + 15 g metsulfuron-methyl per 100 L water.
Comments: Spot spray. Use a penetrant in coastal areas where the asparagus plants have a formed a waxy coating. For the treatment of this weed in areas of native vegetation, eg. subtropical rainforest remnants, littoral rainforest and other bushland reserves.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Brush-off®)
Rate: 1–2 g/10 L water plus non-ionic surfactant (0.1 % or 1 mL/L)
Comments: Spot spray application, best done between flowering and berries forming.
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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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
All of NSW Prohibition on dealings
Must not be imported into the State or sold

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.
For further information call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 or send an email to weeds@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Reviewed 2019