African bridal creeper in the Elfin forest
  Home Visiting the Forest and how to get there What's in the Forest and how it got there Conservation in the Forest Flora and Fauna of the Forest Library of Forest Info Forest Store


Bridal creeper -- Asparagus asparagoides

This sub-section considers a single invasive plant species which is proving difficult to remove from the Elfin Forest -- Bridal creeper a.k.a. African bridal creeper.

Note: that since there are: a). two native California plants in the genus Smilax, and b). Asparagus asparagoides is definitely not a smilax it probably best if we resist using "Smilax" as a common name for the species.

Australia and New Zealand have had the longest (and worst experiences) with Asparagus asparagoides so it is not surprising that they have the most knowledge about its control. The Southern Australian Government has a control manual produced by the Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation on behalf of the National Asparagus Weeds Management Committee. It cover several invasive asparagus species an the manual is fairly large PDF file. Consequently, they are broken into 8 files here. The Introduction and first two sections (PDF files) are of the greatest interest to us on the Central Coast of California.

                                     "Asparagus Weeds -- Best Practice Management Manual"

The other asparagus species -- Bridal Veil, Asparagus Fern, Ground (Basket) Asparagus, and Climbing Asparagus -- maybe grown as ornamentals in the state (that is how California got Bridal creeper in the first place). Be on the lookout for them moving out of commercial nurseries and gardens and into the wilds.

Also see "Bridal creeper (Asparagus asparagoides) Management Strategy for Kangaroo Island" for a little more recent synopsis of treatment techniques.

The wildlife management agencies in both Australia and New Zealand encourage volunteers to inoculate their forest being over run by Bridal creeper with a rust fungus (Puccinia myrsiphylli). If your computer will read Microsoft PowerPoint files this button will bring up a presentation on how to become a do-it-yourself rust fungus culturest/spreader.

This file is provided for your amusement only. Most assuredly it is illegal to import or spread the fungus in the United States because to our knowledge the appropriate studies have not been done in the US to rule it out as a harmful agricultural agent nor federal approval given. (Australia did do studies which concluded Puccinia myrsiphylli did not infect the edible form of asparagus [asparagus officinalis]. See page three of "Bridal creeper rust fungus".)

Additonal information on the Austrailian weed control effort can be found by clicking here.