Asparagus aethiopicus ‘Sprengeri’ (ASPARAGACEAE) Asparagus Fern, Sprenger’s Asparagus

Scrambler, growing from thick tuberous roots formed on rhizomes, native to South Africa. Not noxious in Queensland, but a declared species in Western Australia and New South Wales.

Synonyms: Asparagopsis densiflora; Asparagus sprengeri; Asparagus aethiopicus; Protasparagus densiflorus. Also known as ‘Sprengers Asparagus’, named after Carl Ludwig Sprenger who made it popular in Europe as an ornamental plant.

The true leaves are reduced to scales. Thin flattened stems assume the form and function of a leaf (cladodes).

Photo: Robert Whyte

Flowers are white or pale pink, bell-shaped to 4 mm spring to autumn.

Fruit a red berry containing one to a few black seeds.

A persistent weed of urban bushland. Grows best in shaded areas where other vegetation has been removed. Often found growing near abandoned houses or near habitation where pieces have been dumped.

Continues to be sold as an ornamental and its range is increasing.

Photo: Robert Whyte