Asparagus scandens

Climbing asparagus

Family: Asparagaceae

Origin: South Africa

Climbing asparagus leaves and orange berries.
Climbing asparagus has long green, thin, wiry stems.

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Aotea — Eradication
  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • National Pest Plant Accord Species
  • Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area priority status

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Scrambling or climbing perennial. Roots are tuberous and fleshy. Stems are < 2 m long, green and much branched. Leaves are scale-like, thin and dry. Cladodes are leaf-like, usually 3 per node and spreading in one plane. Flowers are white and solitary. Berry is spherical and red.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell climbing asparagus. As climbing 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 climbing 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 climbing 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 climbing asparagus is being managed, and Auckland Council has carried out initial destruction of climbing asparagus on that land, you must undertake follow up destruction of all climbing 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 climbing asparagus at all sites within the Aotea/Great Barrier Island group where it is known to occur.

If you see climbing asparagus anywhere on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group, please report it to Auckland Council at


Forest, shrublands, can grow as epiphyte, forest margins, wasteland, scrub, hedgerows.


Seeds dispersed by birds. Vegetative spread from tubers.

Impact on environment

Smothers native vegetation and prevents seedling establishment. Reduces native plant abundance and species richness and facilitates weed invasion. May increase erosion through canopy loss.


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.


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.

Do not add penetrant when spraying against tree trunks.

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

A small stalk of climbing asparagus.
The leaves are feathery and fern-like and usually in groups of three.
Photo credit: Su Sinclair
Climbing asparagus with a multitude of orange berries.
Climbing asparagus produces large numbers of orange-red berries.
Climbing asparagus growing up the side of a tree.
It can smother the forest floor and understory.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
Close up of climbing asparagus with a blooming flower.
Small white flowers bloom in spring.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
A wall of climbing asparagus.
Tiny whitish flowers are followed by round berries that ripen from green to orange-red.
Photo credit: Greg Hoskins
Close up of climbing asparagus with seed.
It spreads by birds eating the berries and dispersing the seeds.
Photo credit: Greg Hoskins
Branch of climbing asparagus on a table next to a paper clip for scale.
It has fine, fern-like foliage with small delicate leaves.