T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Asparagus scandens (Asparagus fern)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Monocots 
Order: Asparagales 
Family: Asparagaceae 
Genus: Asparagus 
Species: A. scandens 
Binomial name: Asparagus scandens 
Common name: Climbing asparagus, Asparagus fern, Snake feather.

Asparagus scandens is also known as climbing asparagus or asparagus fern. It is a plant native to South Africa in the Asparagus genus, Asparagus fern is an invasive species in New Zealand and it is listed on the National Pest Plant Accord, which means that it cannot be sold or distributed.  This plant invades forests and forest edges. Smothers under story plants, stangles tress and prevents regeneration of canopy species.
It is a slender scrambling or climbing perennial, with feathery cladodes (green, flattened stems that resemble leaves) usually in threes at each node. Flowers are small solitary and white. These are followed by red berries. The flowers are white, rarely pale pink, 3-4 mm long, solitary in leaf axils. Flowers develop in Sep-Dec and a round red berry about 8 mm in diameter, with a solitary round black seed about 4 mm in diameter. The leaves are narrow lance-shaped, flattened, curved cladodes usually in threes at each node, 5-15 mm long by 0.8-1.5 mm wide, one noticeably longer. Its stems are green and are strongly binding to its support and are much-branched at the top, up to 2 m long. The roots are tuberous.
Found growing in forest remnants, regenerating forest, grassy places, rock walls and hedges. Found on the upper and lower sections of the Te Henui walkway. Spread by birds.











Flower buds