Common name: Climbing Asparagus
Asparagus africanus Lam. APNI*
Synonyms: Protasparagus africanus (Lam.) Oberm. APNI*
Description: Perennial climber or sub-shrub with woody perennial stems 8–12 m long, branches and cladodes spirally arranged; axillary spines on older stems to 10 mm long; with a central crown, with roots rather fleshy (no distinct tubers).
Leaves scale-like. Cladodes 7–12 in each axil, terete, 8–15 mm long, c. 0.5 mm wide, glabrous.
Flowers axillary, 1-several; pedicels 5–10 mm long, jointed towards base. Tepals 3–4 mm long, white.
Berry more or less globose, 5–6 mm diam., orange-red; seed 1.
Flowering: Chiefly spring; fruits most of the year.
Distribution and occurrence: Cultivated as an ornamental; sometimes naturalized in coastal districts north from Coffs Harbour. Native of S Africa.
NSW subdivisions: *NC
Other Australian states: *Qld
This species has become a troublesome smothering weed in drier rainforest in northern parts of the State.
Text by GJ Harden (1993); edited KL Wilson (Oct 2014)
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW vol. 4 (1993)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.