14 Jan Asparagus – culinary
Unlike most other weeds of this family the culinary asparagus is native to Europe not South Africa. It does however share many of its counter parts weedy traits such as developing succulent berries and growing dense underground rhizomes and root mats.
Habit: Grown for culinary purposes. Hardy perennial with robust spears and prolific fern like vegetative structures 1.5 to 2.0 m tall.
Leaves: Fine, feathery, leaf-like cladodes arranged in cylindrical sprays.
Flowers: Flowers are small, bell shaped, greenish-white and arranged at the base of branches in Summer.
Fruit: Bluish-green berries to 0.5cm across that turn red when ripe in Autumn.
Roots: A tough, woody crown is forged at base of stems, with a comprehensive fleshy root mass radiating out from the crown.
Dispersal: Seed spread by water, animals, birds, humans, contaminated soil (earthmoving equipment, car tyres etc) and garden refuse dumping.
Control: Difficult to control - crowning, ensure that the crown is removed off site. Remove and bag berries. Follow-up - hand -pull all emerging seedlings. Foliar spray.
This is a popular vegetable garden plant that needs active management. This may be as simple as removing vegetative stalks prior to seed set, or as comprehensive as complete removal from gardens.