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Not a Friendly Fern: Climbing Asparagus on Aotea

Climbing Asparagus also known as Asparagus fern, Mesophyll scandens, originally from South America, is one of the North Islands worst weeds and is well established across the North Island and has spread to the South Island. It smothers native vegetation and prevents seedling establishment. Reduces native plant abundance and species richness and facilitates weed invasion. It may also increase erosion through canopy loss. With Aotea’s regenerating nature this weed poses a huge threat to the Island.

There are only three known infestations of Climbing Asparagus on the Island-Whangaparapara, Karaka Bay and Mullberry Grove (which is almost declared eradicated). Whangaparapara is the larger of the three Climbing Asparagus infestations on the Island. Envirokiwi are currently completing their second annual control visit within this area. We encourage the community to please report any findings to Auckland Council and to join the iNaturalist project ‘Aotea High Risk Weeds’, to find a list of the plants we need to look out for and record any weeds you might find. If confirmed Auckland Council will arrange for pest plant control using local contractors.

Removing a seedling by hand today will reduce the need for more intensive removal methods in the future.

This story featuringAotea High Risks Weeds’ was written by Niklas Erikson, Senior Conservation Advisor (Aotea/Great Barrier Island).


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