A perennial plant that escapes cultivation. Asparagus densiflorus, commonly called asparagus fern, is not a fern, nor is it edible. Native to South and Eastern Africa, asparagus fern naturally thrives in areas with little water or soil. It is considered a weed in Florida, Australia, and many other places. It has naturalized on all the main Hawaiian Islands. It is difficult to control after it has established in the ground due to the extensive root system. Some say an excavator is needed to eradicate this plant from one’s yard. Bird-dispersed fruit and shade tolerance are some of the reasons this ornamental plant is considered invasive. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife of the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources has designated this species as one of Hawaiʻi’s Most Invasive Horticultural Plants. Asparagus fern is a ‘no grow’ species for the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) Plant Pono program.
Description and Dispersal:
- Erect or arching shrubs with stems that have needle-like leaves
- White flowers are insignificant white, short-lived and have a sweet smell
- White or red pea sized fruit with a large black seed is very attractive to birds