Print Email Comment share on Facebook Share on twitter
Print this page
Email link to this page
Send comments about this page
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Document sans nom

Asparagus asparagoides (Asparagaceae)

 

Asparagus asparagoides was added to the EPPO Alert List in 2012 but as no immediate risk was perceived, it was transferred to the Observation List in 2013.

Why: Asparagus asparagoides (Asparagaceae) is a rhizomatous perennial climbing vine originating from South Africa. One of its English common names is “bridal creeper”. This species is invasive in Australia. It is used as an ornamental plant in the EPPO region, and is listed as an invasive alien plant in Spain, but is also present in other EPPO member countries. Considering the invasive behavior of this species elsewhere in the world as well as in EPPO countries, it is considered that Mediterranean and Macaronesian countries may be at risk, and that the species should usefully be monitored.
  Asparagus asparagoides - Forest & Kim Starr
www.bugwood.org

Geographical distribution:
EPPO region: France (including Corse), Italy (Sicilia), Malta, Morocco, Portugal (Azores, Madeira), Spain (including Islas Canarias), Tunisia.
Note: The species had erroneously been indicated as present in Slovenia (from an incorrect interpretation of Jogan, 2005).
Africa (native): Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe.
North America: Mexico, USA (California, Hawaii (East Maui)).
South and Central America: Argentina, Guatemala, Uruguay.
Oceania (invasive): Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia), New Zealand.

Morphology: A. asparagoides is a geophyte with a perennial cylindrical, slender (about 5 mm wide), branching rhizome, growing parallel to the soil surface, bearing fleshy tubers (25–42 mm long and 8–20 mm wide). It produces thin shoots, slightly woody at the base and up to 6 m long when support is available. Shoots emerging from the below-ground root system entwine with each other and surrounding vegetation, allowing them to climb understorey shrubs and small trees.A. asparagoides produces leaf-like stems called cladodes which are stalkless, broadly ovate to lanceolate, 10–70 mm long, 4–30 mm wide, dark glossy-green when growing in shade, but dull and light green in exposed locations. They are solitary and alternate along the stem, or are borne in groups on short side branches.
Flowers are 8–9 mm wide and 5–6 mm long when fully expanded. They are borne on 3–8 mm long and slightly bent pedicels, singly or in pairs in the axils of the reduced scale-like leaves, tepals are greenish white. Fruits are globular berries, 6–10 mm wide, initially green and ripening to red. They generally contain 0–4 black (maximum 9), shiny, spherical or ovoid seeds.

In which habitats: In its native range in South Africa, A. asparagoides mainly occurs as a minor understorey species. In contrast, it invades a variety of habitats in warm temperate climates of Australia and New Zealand including coastal heath or sandy dunes, woodlands or forests, creek and river banks, swamps, dry coastal vegetation, dry and damp sclerophyll open-forest, and littoral rainforest. It prefers shaded or part-shaded habitats. According to the Corine Land Cover nomenclature, the following habitats are invaded: mixed forests, conifer forests, broad-leaved forests, coastal wetlands, banks of continental water, riverbanks / canalsides (dry river beds), road and rail networks and associated land, other artificial surfaces (wastelands), green urban areas including parks, gardens, sport and leisure facilities, scrub.

Biology and ecology: Flowers of A. asparagoides are bisexual and self-compatible. In Australia, seeds germinate in autumn or early winter and flowering generally occurs from late winter to early spring three years after germination. Fruits develop in spring, they mature into red berries from late spring to late summer, depending on the region, and can be retained on senescing plants for several months. Fruit production may exceed 1 000 berries/m². Seed viability is reported to approach 90% and seed longevity is a few years. The species may also reproduce vegetatively through rhizomes, as a new plant can regrow from rhizome fragments. Rhizomes may remain viable for more than 5 years.A. asparagoides is particularly vigorous in soils with a high moisture content. It grows best at sites with high levels of available nitrates, potassium and iron.

Pathways: A. asparagoides is used as an ornamental plant. Careless disposal of garden waste and earthworks (e.g., roadside grading) can spread rhizomes over considerable distances. Seeds may also be transported in mud attached to machinery and vehicles.
When the plant colonizes river banks, seeds may also be dispersed downstream by water flows. Seeds are also dispersed by frugivorous birds, as well as by rabbits and foxes.
It has been estimated in Australia that patches of about 10 m² expanded radially by approximately 0.6 m per year.

Impacts: A. asparagoides is not known to invade agricultural systems, except for citrus orchards in irrigated areas of Australia, where it smothers trees and preventes the normal growth of citrus roots leading to reduced fruit production. It is estimated that at least 20% of growers who manage a total of more than 6500 ha of citrus orchards in districts bordering the Murray River in Australia, are affected by A. asparagoides. The cost of control is estimated to be as high as 2000 AUD per hectare and per year.A. asparagoides does not invade pastures as it cannot withstand constant grazing. It invades pine plantations, but it is not perceived to have a significant impact on tree growth.A. asparagoides invades both disturbed and undisturbed natural ecosystems, where it quickly dominates and smothers understorey vegetation and changes the structure, floristic composition and ecology of the system. Plant colonies may form a dense tuberous mat underground, preventing other plants from accessing soil moisture and nutrients. Once an infestation is established, the amount of light reaching the soil surface is very low, thereby preventing other plants from persisting. In Australia, plant communities as well as native protected species are directly threatened by A. asparagoides. In addition, plant shoots can form dense mats which die-back in the summer, creating a fire hazard.

Control: Preventive measures include avoiding composting, mulching or dumping garden refuse containing A. asparagoides rhizomes. In Australia, it is recommended to place uprooted plants in black plastic bags and leave them out in the sun for many months to kill rhizomes. Cleaning of earthmoving equipment is important to prevent the spread of viable rhizome fragments that may be present in the attached soil. Eradication of A. asparagoides at a local scale is only feasible for recently established infestations and before the fructification of the plant. Isolated young plantsof A. asparagoides with an underdeveloped root system can be pulled-out by hand. Manual removal of mature plants and their root system is only appropriate for small and isolated infestations. Removed root mats should be disposed of by deep burial (>2 m deep) or by burning (after a drying period). Follow-up control is often required as A. asparagoides regenerates from small pieces of living rhizome left in the soil.
Mechanical removal of the above-ground biomass is effective at reducing seed production if performed before fruiting, but many repeated operations are necessary to exhaust below-ground reserves. A. asparagoides is palatable to mammals, and thus livestock grazing is potentially an effective control method.
Several herbicide trials have been conducted during the last 20 years, and glyphosate, metsulfuron methyl and some related sulfonylureas have been identified as the most effective non-selective, systemic, herbicides against A. asparagoides. Since most A. asparagoides seeds are dispersed by animals within 300–500 m of the source, it is recommended to also control outlying plants or patches within a buffer zone of 500 m around the edge of a main infestation.

Sources:
Alziar G & Salanon R (1996) Pourquoi certaines plantes deviennent-elles envahissantes ? Quelques exemples pris dans la flore allochtone des Alpes-Maritimes. Collection “Plantes introduites – Plantes envahissantes”, Nice 8-11 octobre 1996 (abstract).
Australia's Virtual Herbarium. Asparagus asparagoides. avh.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?taxa=asparagus+asparagoides#mapView
Borg J (1927) Descriptive Flora of the Maltese Islands. Malta: Government Stationery Office, 846 pp.
CABI Invasive Species Compendium (Beta), Asparagus asparagoides (bridal creeper). http://www.cabi.org/isc/?compid=5&dsid=8139&loadmodule=datasheet&page=481&site=144
California Invasive Plant Council, Asparagus asparagoides. http://www.cal-ipc.org/ip/management/plant_profiles/Asparagus_asparagoides.php#news
Conservatoire et jardin botaniques ville de Genève (2012) Base de données des plantes d'Afrique. Asparagus asparagoides (L.) Druce. http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/bd/cjb/africa/details.php?langue=fr&id=34582
Euro+Med PlantBase - Asparagus asparagoides. http://ww2.bgbm.org/EuroPlusMed/PTaxonDetail.asp?NameCache=Asparagus%20asparagoides&PTRefFk=8000000Europa Press (2010) La Junta de Andalucía erradica una "peligrosa" planta invasora que amenaza a especies del parque de La Barrosa (Cádiz). 5 Febrero de 2010.http://www.europapress.es/epsocial/politica-social/noticia-junta-andalucia-erradica-peligrosa-planta-invasora-amenaza-especies-parque-barrosa-cadiz-20100205120649.html
GBIF Portal, Asparagus asparagoides, record for Spain. http://data.gbif.org/occurrences/318103311/
Ibn Tattou M & Fennane M (2008) Flore vasculaire du Maroc, inventaire et chorologie. Travaux de l'Institut Scientifique, Université Mohammed V, Série Botanique 39, p. 144.
Kwong RM & Holland-Clift S (2004) Biological control of bridal creeper, Asparagus asparagoides (L.) W. Wight, in citrus orchards. Proceedings of the 14th Australian Weeds Conference - Weed management: balancing people, planet, profit (Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, AU, 2004-09-06/09), pp 329-332.
Lanfranco E (2005) Biodiversity Action Plan: Tender for the setting up of a list of alien flora reported from the Maltese Islands. Report commissioned by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority as part of the Biodiversity Action Plan and Habitat Inventorying Programme. (unpublished).
Le Floc'h E, Boulos L & Vela E (2010) Catalogue synonymique commenté de la Flore de Tunisie. République Tunisienne. Ministère de l'Environnement et du Développement Durable. Banque Nationale de Gènes. 504 pp.
Lisa Jane Schembri Gambin, Malta Environment and Planning Authority, pers. comm., 2013, Email: Lisa.Schembri@mepa.org.mt
Maire R (1958) Flore de l'Afrique du Nord. Lechevalier éd., Paris. p. 231.
Nejc Jogan, University of Ljubljana, email: nejc.jogan@bf.uni-lj.si
Paradis G (2002) Expansion à Ajaccio (Corse) de l'espèce introduite Elide asparagoides (L.) Kerguélen (Asparagaceae). Le Monde des Plantes 476, 16-20.
Paradis G & Piazza C (2004) Précisions sur les stations d'Elide asparagoides (Asparagaceae) à l'île Rousse et Tiuccia (Corse Occidentale). Le Monde des Plantes 482, 1-2.
Parlatore F (1858) Flora Italiana ossia descrizione delle piante che nascono selvatiche o si sono inselvatichite in Italia e nelle isole ad essa adiacenti. Vol. 3, pag. 27, Firenze, Tip. Le Monnier.
Pers. comm. from Nejc Jogan (2013) concerning the erroneous interpretation of Jogan N (2005) Plant invaders in sub-mediterranean part of Slovenia. In Brunel S (Eds) (2005) Proceedings of the International Workshop on Invasive plants in Mediterranean type regions of the world. 25-27 May 2005, Mèze (FR) p. 332.
Podda L, Lazzeri V, Mascia F, Mayoral O & Bacchetta (2012) The Checklist of the Sardinian Alien Flora: an Update. Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-napoca 40(2), 14-21.
Popay I, Champion P & James T (2010) Common Weeds of New Zealand. New Zealand Plant Protection Society. Manaaki Whenua Press, 416 pp.
Scott JK & Batchelor KL (2006) Climate-based prediction of potential distribution of introduced Asparagus species in Australia. Plant Protection Quarterly 21(3), 91-98. http://www.weeds.org.au/WoNS/bridalcreeper/docs/Asp08Scott.pdf
SILENE (2013) Asparagus asparagoides (L.) Druce. Conservatoire Botanique National Méditerranéen de Porquerolles, Conservatoire Botanique National Alpin. http://flore.silene.eu/index.php?cont=accueil
Standley PC & Steyermark JA (1952) Liliaceae. In Flora of Guatemala - Part III. Fieldiana, Botany 24(3), 59–100.
Starr F, Martz K & Loope LL (2002) New plant records from the Hawaiian Archipelago. Bishop Museum Occasional Paper 69, 16–27.
United States Department of Agriculture - Germaplasm Resources Information Network (USDA-GRIN) (2013) Asparagus asparagoides. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?4494
Victorian Department of Primary Industries (Undated) Invasiveness Assessment - Bridal creeper (Western Cape form) (Asparagus asparagoides) in Victoria (nox). http://vro.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/vrosite.nsf/pages/invasive_bridal_creeper

 

EPPO RS 2011/066, 2013/090, 2013/091
Entry date 2012-03

 

Back