Asparagus aethiopicus

Bushy asparagus

Also known as:

Asparagus densiflorus

Family: Liliaceae

Origin: South Africa

Bushy asparagus with green berries and one red one.
Can smother shrubs and other low vegetation.

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Aotea — Eradication
  • Parkland with Significant Ecological Areas — Site-led
  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • National Pest Plant Accord Species
  • Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area priority status

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Scrambling, multi-stemmed, bushy herb. Roots are tuberous and form a thick mat. Flowers are white and borne in October – March. Berries are red.

Note: The National Pest Plan Accord RPMP status does not apply to the 'Meyersii' cultivar.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell bushy asparagus. As bushy asparagus is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant bushy asparagus within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any bushy asparagus on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

If you occupy land within the buffer area of a park where bushy asparagus is being managed, and Auckland Council has carried out initial destruction of bushy asparagus on that land, you must undertake follow up the destruction of all bushy asparagus on that land.

View a map of park buffers where this applies. To find out more about how we’re protecting Auckland’s parkland from pest plants, visit our pest plant buffer pages.

Auckland Council will control bushy asparagus at all sites within the Aotea/Great Barrier Island group where it is known to occur.

If you see bushy asparagus anywhere on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group, please report it to Auckland Council at pestfree@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.

Habitats

Forest, scrub, coastal ecosystems, dunes.

Dispersal

Seeds dispersed by birds.

Impact on environment

Can form dense infestations, excluding native vegetation. May impede recreational access to natural areas.

Control

Site Management

Cut and pull vines away from desirable trees and native plants before foliar spraying. Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group. Please report to Auckland Council if seen on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group.

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Tubers, rhizomes and seeds.

Disposal options: Rot tubers, rhizomes and seeds in covered water barrel or remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.

Biocontrol

Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Foliar spray with 200ml glyphosate green per 10L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 200ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 10ml penetrant.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

A scrambling bush of bushy asparagus with several clusters of berries.
Fruit is green ripening to glossy red and spread by birds.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
Close up of a green and red berries of the bushy asparagus.
Flowers are small and white.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
The climbing stalks of bushy asparagus.
Forma dense stands excluding native species.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
Asparagus densiflorus spreading down a tree truck.
Asparagus densiflorus is a scrambling, slightly woody plant with upright or trailing branches up to 1m.