Common name: Climbing Asparagus Fern, Ferny Asparagus
Asparagus plumosus Baker APNI*
Synonyms: Protasparagus plumosus (Baker) Oberm. APNI*
Description: Vine with wiry climbing perennial stems to c. 5 m long; spines recurved, usually < 5 mm long; final branches and cladodes in one plane; with central crown, roots fibrous and some fleshy (no distinct tubers).
Leaves scale-like. Cladodes 8–15 in each axil, terete, 4–7 mm long, c. 0.5 mm wide, ± glabrous.
Flowers single or paired, terminal on lateral branches; pedicels 1–2.5 mm long, jointed near base; tepals 3–4 mm long, greenish to white.
Berry ± depressed-globose, 4–5 mm diam., black at maturity; seed 1.
Flowering: spring–summer; fruits until June.
Distribution and occurrence: Cultivated as an ornamental; extensively naturalised in coastal districts north from Royal N.P. and on LHI, occasionally naturalised inland. It is often a serious weed in bushland because once established it is difficult to eradicate. A declared noxious weed on LHI. Native of southern and eastern Africa.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC, *NWS, ?SWS, *LHI
Other Australian states: *Qld *Vic. *S.A. *W.A.
Plants in Australia have also been called A. setaceus but that is a separate African species that is not known to occur in Australia.
Text by GJ Harden (1993); edited KL Wilson (2005; Aug 2011; Jan 2014; 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.