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Climbing Asparagus

South Africa

General description

Scrambling or climbing perennial. Roots are tuberous and fleshy. Stems are < 2 m long, green and much branched. Leaves are scale-like, thin and dry. Cladodes are leaf-like, usually 3 per node and spreading in one plane. Flowers are white and solitary. Berry is spherical and red.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell climbing asparagus. As climbing asparagus is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant climbing asparagus within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any climbing asparagus on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.
  • If you occupy land within the buffer area of a park where climbing asparagus is being managed, and Auckland Council has carried out initial destruction of climbing asparagus on that land, you must undertake follow up destruction of all climbing asparagus on that land. View a map of park buffers where this applies. To find out more about how we’re protecting Auckland’s parkland from pest plants, visit our pest plant buffer pages.
Auckland Council will control climbing asparagus at all sites within the Aotea/Great Barrier Island group where it is known to occur.

If you see climbing asparagus anywhere on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group, please report it to Auckland Council at

Forest, shrublands, can grow as epiphyte, forest margins, wasteland, scrub, hedgerows.

Seeds dispersed by birds. Vegetative spread from tubers.

Smothers native vegetation and prevents seedling establishment. Reduces native plant abundance and species richness and facilitates weed invasion. May increase erosion through canopy loss.

Site Management

Cut and pull vines away from desirable trees and native plants before foliar spraying. Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group. Please report to Auckland Council if seen on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group.

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Tubers, rhizomes and seeds

Disposal options: Rot tubers, rhizomes and seeds in covered water barrel or remove to greenwaste or landfill


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
Foliar spray with 200ml glyphosate green per 10L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Foliar spray with 200ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 10ml penetrant
Do not add penetrant when spraying against tree trunks

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

asparagus fern
Asparagus setaceus

Asparagus fern is more branched and has more than 3 cladodes at each stem node. The berries are purple-black.

bushy asparagus
Asparagus aethiopicus

Bushy asparagus cladodes are spiny in comparison to the finer cladodes of climbing asparagus.

Asparagus asparagoides

Smilax cladodes are wider and are arranged alternately along the stem. There is only one cladode per stem node.

RPMP status

Aotea (Eradication)
Parkland with Significant Ecological Areas (Site-led)
Whole region (Sustained Control)
National Pest Plant Accord Species
Climbing asparagus - Main species image