Review of the current taxonomic status and authorship for Asparagus weeds in Australia

Kathryn L. Batchelor and John K. Scott, CSIRO Entomology, Private Bag 5, PO Wembley, Western Australia 6913, Australia.


Over the last 20 years, many scientific papers and reports have been produced outlining the establishment, distribution and weed status of Asparagus weeds in Australia. Differing use of authorship and species names are present in this literature resulting in confusion over which species are actually present. This paper examines the taxonomic status and authorship of the eight Asparagus species naturalized in Australia: A. aethiopicus L., A. africanus Lam., A. asparagoides (L.) Druce, A. declinatus L., A. officinalis L., A. plumosus Baker, A. scandens Thunb., and A. virgatus Baker. Asparagus asparagoides is found in two forms, one with a widespread distribution and a second form, currently of restricted distribution in South Australia and Victoria. There are at least nine other Asparagus species in cultivation or present in Australian herbariums, but they are not known to be naturalized in bushland. Clarification of the nomenclature of Asparagus species and a better understanding of the phylogeny within the family will assist in the management and policy decisions on weed control for each species, for example, the nomination of various Asparagus species as target species for biological control.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2006) 21 (3) 128-130.