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Book cover - Common Weeds of New ZealandAn Illustrated Guide to
Common Weeds
of New Zealand


Asparagus asparagoides
smilax, bridal creeper


Reproduced from
Common Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
New Zealand Plant Protection Society

Publication or other use of images or descriptive text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is obtained from the authors and publisher.
Appropriate acknowledgement of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always be given.

Available from Touchwood Books

Asparagus asparagoides Asparagus asparagoides

Scrambling or twining perennial that grows up to 3 m tall in supporting shrubs or hedges. The 'leaves' are actually green, flattened cladodes that resemble leaves. Flower small, greenish-white, followed by red berries.

  • Flowers Greenish-white, 5-6 mm long, singly or in pairs in the leaf axils. Flowers July-Aug.
  • Fruit Round red berry, 6-10 mm in diameter. Two to eight black seeds, about 2 mm in diameter.
  • Leaves Light green cladodes (green, flattened stems that resemble leaves), solitary at each node, 10-35 mm long by 4-15 mm wide, flattened, ovate, pointed, with about seven prominent veins.
  • Stems Tortuous, green or slightly woody and brownish up to 3 m long, branches spreading, rough angles.
  • Roots White, fleshy, tuberous, in dense underground clusters.


Hedges, coastal slopes, road-side banks and abandoned quarries.


Common in the northern half of NI, diminishing southwards. Found at Kerikeri and Dargaville in North Auckland, Auckland, Hawkes Bay (Napier) and in the Manawatu. In SI at Nelson City, Christchurch and Banks Peninsula. Originally from South Africa.


Listed on the National Pest Plant Accord (see Introduction for details).

Derivation of botanical name

Asparagus (Lat.) = asparagus; asparagoides (Lat.) = asparagus-like.

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Last updated: July 13, 2014