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Bridal Creeper

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Botanical Name: Asparagus asparagoides
Other Common Names: Florist's Smilax

Declarations

 
Class Regions
Class 4Dubbo City Council
Class 5All Of N.S.W.
Landholder Responsibilities: The requirements in the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 for a notifiable weed must be complied with
Why Is It Bad?: Introduced as a garden plant and often used in floral arrangements, Bridal Creeper is now a major weed of native bushland. The foliage smothers surrounding plants and dense mats of tubers prevent root growth and establishment of other plants. Bridal Creeper is considered a major threat to native habitats and as such is one of Australia's top 20 Weeds of National Significance (WoNS).

Identification

Habit: Vine
Leaves: 'Leaves' are ovate cladodes, 1-4.5cm long, 5-16mm wide and glossy green. New growth occurs in Autumn with long stems forming a tangled mass around any nearby plants or objects.
Flowers: Flowers are greenish-white, 8-9mm in diamter, and occur singularly or in a cluster in leaf axils. Flowering occurs in August and September.
Fruit: Pea-sized green berries mature to red, containing 2-3 black seeds. Ripe fruit stays on the plant for several months. Most seeds fall quite close to the adult plant but some are transported large distances by birds. Seeds can survive the digestive tract of birds when berries are eaten.
Roots: Perennial root system or many tubers grouped along a central rhizome. The system forms a dense underground mat many times larger that the above ground part of the plant.

Control Methods

Manual Removal: Removal of the entire root mat is necessary for this method to be effective. This mostly must be done with hoes, picks and hand-pulling as mechanical tools are not suitable.
Chemical Use: Spot spraying plants for several consecutive years can lead to good results. However care needs to be taken as off-target contamination can occur easily when Bridal Creeper entangles itself around other desirable plants.
Fire: Fire can be used to aid herbicide application as new growth appears quickly, before many native or desirable species. Fire can also kill seeds and affect the tuber mats.
Slashing & Cutting: Slashing at certain times of the year can prevent fruit production and slowly deplete root reserves, but this will not eradicate the plant.
Biological Control: The Bridal Creeper leafhopper (Zygina sp.) attacks the leaves, reducing the competitiveness of the plant. Rust fungus (Puccinia myrsiphylli) attakcs leaves and stems, reducing plant mass. A leaf beetle (Crioceris sp.) is also available. Due to the slow rate of these biological control agents, several years are required before serious effects can be observed.
Grazing: Sheep and wallabies are known to graze Bridal Creeper and this could be an option for remnant woodland sites, however this is a difficult control meassure to regulate.
Cultivation & Scalping:
Smothering:
Solarisation:
Competition:
Monitoring: Successful treatment programs rely on ongoing monitoring of sites. Regrowth and new seedlings can easily become larger infestations if follow-up treatments are not part of the management program

Images

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Image Credit: Wendy Bushell


Image Credit: Wendy Bushell





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