Feathered asparagus fern

Native to South Africa, feathered asparagus fern is a fast-growing climber often used as a garden plant. It causes serious environmental problems if it escapes into bushland, where it can smother native vegetation, especially in dry rainforest.

You must manage the impacts of feathered asparagus fern on your land.

You must not give away, sell or release feathered asparagus fern into the environment.

Scientific name

Asparagus plumosus


  • Fast-growing plant that can climb up to 5m.
  • Stems can be metres long.
  • Leaves are very fine.
  • Stems are thorny.
  • Underground rhizomes are strong.
  • Flowers are bell-shaped, greenish-white, 5–7mm wide
  • Berries are green, ripening to black, 4–5mm wide.
  • Roots are swollen, thick, do not produce tubers.
  • Appearance and impacts are very similar to A. africanus except A. plumosus has black berries while A. africanus has orange berries.


  • Temperate to subtropical areas.


  • Most common near Brisbane.

Life cycle

  • Produces flowers and berries spring–autumn.
  • Each berry contains 1 seed.



  • Smothers native vegetation, especially in dry rainforest.

How it is spread

  • Spread by birds and dumping of garden waste.


Physical control

  • Prevent birds from accessing berries.
  • Dig out roots and dispose of at your local waste facility.
  • Remove entire crown and underground stem to prevent regrowth. This requires digging underneath central growing point and lifting it out of ground. Any regrowth that occurs can be kept under control by regular mowing or digging out.

Herbicide control

  • Herbicides are effective.

Read the asparagus fern fact sheet (PDF, 1.5MB) for herbicide control and application rates.

Biological control

  • No known biological control agents.

Legal requirements

  • Feathered asparagus fern is a category 3 restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment. Penalties may apply.
  • You must take all reasonable and practical measures to minimise the biosecurity risks associated with dealing with feathered asparagus fern under your control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government agency must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on feathered asparagus fern. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local council for more information.

Further information