Bridal veil

Native to the Western Cape region of South Africa, bridal veil has been present in Australia as an ornamental plant since 1870. Naturalised populations were recorded on Kangaroo Island in 1954 and has since naturalised in coastal and inland regions of South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria.

Bridal veil is very similar to bridal creeper and has become a highly invasive and aggressive environmental weed. All weedy species of asparagus ferns are listed as Weeds of National Significance.

Bridal veil is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Asparagus declinatus

Description

  • Fern with long, smooth stems, twining up to 2.5m.
  • Leaves are soft, needle-like, grey-green to 20mm long, occurring in groups of 3.
  • Flowers are small, greenish-white, solitary or in pairs on short stalks.
  • Fruit are spherical or ovoid, up to 8-15mm in diameter.
  • Fruits ripen from green to pale bluish-grey or whitish-translucent, containing 2-14 seeds.
  • Roots are a dense mat of fibrous rhizomes, with clusters of thick bulb-like ribbed tubers to 6 cm long; stems arise from the length of the rhizomes.

Habitat

  • Found in temperate climates.
  • Grows in a wide range of environments, including exposed rocky outcrops and pine forests to woodlands and coastal habitats.

Distribution in Queensland

  • Not yet recorded in Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Usually flowers July-October.
  • Fruit appears in late winter to midsummer.
  • Germinates March-August.

Impacts

Environmental

  • Becomes dominant at both ground and shrub layer, displacing native plants, even in undisturbed systems.

How it is spread

  • Spread by fruit-eating birds and possums, foxes, rodents and lizards.

Control

Physical control

  • Remove berries, seeds and entire crown of underground stem with sharp knife to prevent regrowth.
  • Follow up to control seedling germination and regrowth from missed tubers.

Herbicide control

  • Herbicide control is effective.
  • Use spot spray and cut-stump methods.

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

Biological control

  • No known biological control agent.

Legal requirements

  • Bridal veil is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit.
  • The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

More information