Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Asparagus setaceus
(Kunth) Jessop, Liliaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Threat only at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results: 

Reject, score: 16 (Go to the risk assessment (Australia))
High risk, score: 13 (Go to the risk assessment (Pacific))

Common name(s): [more details]

English: asparagus fern, climbing asparagus fern, ferm asparagus, lace fern, lacy asparagus fern, ornamental asparagus, plumosa

French: asperge plumeuse

Maori (Cook Islands): remu

Spanish: creston

Habit:  vine

Description:  "Woody climber to ca 5 m. Roots fibrous. Cladodes numerous per axil, finely acicular, apiculate, 4-7 mm long, 0.5 mm wide; cladodes and lateral branches arranged in the same plane. Scale leaves spine-like but not indurated. Flowers single or paired, terminal on ultimate branches, ±pendent, 5-7 mm diameter, greenish white; pedicels 1-2.5 mm long, articulated at base or just above. Sepals and petals 3-4 mm long, 1-1.5 mm wide. Stamens 2.5-3.5 mm long; filaments 2-3 mm long; anthers 0.5 mm long, yellow. Ovary globose, 2 mm diameter; style 0.5-1 mm long, trifid. Berry 4-5 mm diameter, black. Seed 1, 2.5-3.5 mm diameter." (Clifford and Conran, 1987).

Habitat/ecology:  Commonly planted as an ornamental or for use in flower arrangements. Naturalizes in dry to moist forest.

Propagation:  Seed. Fruits spread by birds. Older plants spread by means of long, slender rhizomes.

Native range:  Southern Africa.

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island introduced
Pickard, J. (1984) (p. 204)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
Rota Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 100)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Mangaia Island   McCormack, Gerald (2004)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Palmerston (Avarau) Island   Sykes, Bill (year unknown)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2004)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Research Station (2005)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Huahine Island introduced
Fosberg, F. Raymond (1997) (p. 65)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 352)
Vouchers cited: Fosberg & Sachet 63224, Moore 577
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Taha‘a Island introduced
Fosberg, F. Raymond (1997) (p. 65)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 352)
Voucher cited: Grant 4336
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 100)
Marshall Islands
Ratak Chain
Majuro Atoll introduced
cultivated
Vander Velde, Nancy (2003) (p. 41)
Nauru
Nauru Island
Nauru Island introduced
cultivated
Thaman, R. R./Fosberg, F. R./Manner, H. I./Hassall, D. C. (1994) (p. 55)
Voucher cited: Hassall 169 (SUVA)
New Caledonia
Îles Loyauté
Île Tiga introduced
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 93)
Vouchers cited: MacKee 45887 (cv. "Cupressoides")
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 93)
Vouchers cited: MacKee 18383, MacKee 41090 (cv. "Cupressoides"), MacKee (cv. "Pyramidalis")
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara M./Newfield, Melanie/Bull, Cate (2004) (p. 10)
Tonga
Tonga Islands
Tonga introduced
invasive
Yuncker, T. G. (1959) (pp. 79-80)
"Occasional to frequent throughout Tonga".
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia
Australia   ? (year unknown)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand   ? (year unknown)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States
USA (Florida)   ? (year unknown)

Comments:  A forest invader in Tonga, particularly noted on Lifuka/Foa and ‘Uiha (Ha‘apai group of islands), but reportedly present throughout the archipelago (Space & Flynn, 2001). A serious weed on Lord Howe Island (Clifford and Conran, 1987)

Additional information:  Photos at University of Florida, Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.
Photo and additional information at the Environment Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, web site of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

References:  Clifford, H.T. and J.G. Conran. 1987.Protasparagus Flora of Australia 45:

Fosberg, F. R., M.-H. Sachet and R. L. Oliver. 1987. A geographical checklist of the Micronesian monocotyledonae. Micronesica 20:100.

Sykes, W. R. 1970. Contributions to the flora of Niue. New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin 200. p. 254.

Welsh, S. L. 1998. Flora Societensis: A summary revision of the flowering plants of the Society Islands. E.P.S. Inc., Orem, Utah. p. 352.


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 3 DEC 2005.