Common name: Bridal Creeper, Florist's Smilax
Asparagus asparagoides (L.) Druce APNI*
Synonyms: Asparagus asparagoides (L.) Druce APNI*
Myrsiphyllum asparagoides (L.) Willd. APNI*
Description: Climbing herb with stems to c. 3 m long.
Leaves scale-like. Cladodes 1 in each axil, ± ovate, mostly 10–30 mm long and 5–15 mm wide, flattened, glabrous, many-veined.
Flowers 1 or several per axil; pedicels 3–8 mm long, jointed in lower half. Tepals 5–6 mm long, white.
Berry ± globose, 5–19 mm diam., red; seeds 1-many.
Flowering: Winter to early spring; fruits till summer.
Distribution and occurrence: Cultivated as an ornamental; naturalized, especially in the Sydney region, widespread in coastal districts and inland to Moama area. Native of S Afr.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC, *SC, *NWS, *CWS, *SWS, *SWP, *LHI
Other Australian states: *Vic. *S.A. *W.A.
Declared Noxious Weed
Care should be taken when collecting specimens of Bridal Creeper to ensure that samples of the rhizomes and fleshy tubers are collected and/or their arrangement in the ground is noted. The weedy, widespread form introduced in Australia has an extensive, branching root system, with rhizomes growing parallel to the soil surface with abundant fleshy tubers arranged spirally along them. There is another form or possibly separate species from the SW Cape region of South Africa that has the rhizome growing more or less vertically in the soil, with the tubers parallel to the ground surface and packed in a dense compact rosette at the base of the plant. This Western Cape Form is now known to be present in Australia - at least in SA. See http://www.weeds.org.au/WoNS/asparagusweeds/docs/Asparagus_Weeds_BPMM-7.pdf for details about the two forms.
Text by G.J. Harden (1993); edited KL Wilson (Aug 2008) based on information in CA Kleinjan & PB Edwards, South Afr. J. Bot. 65: 23-31 (1999); edited KL Wilson (Nov 2012).
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW vol. 4
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