Don’t let bridal veil creep in

News article |

Natural Resources South East is asking members of the public to be on the lookout for bridal veil, a weed causing a severe environmental threat. With only a handful of known infestations in the South East, keeping on top of new sites is imperative to halting its spread.

Bridal veil (Asparagus declinatus) was introduced from South Africa as a creeper garden plant and was popularly used in weddings for floral and table decorations. The leaves are fine, soft and needle-like, 3 to 10 millimetres, and are densely arranged in groups of three. The flowers are white, and fruits turn from green to white as they mature.

It has since escaped gardens and can now be found in native vegetation. It has the potential to smother and out compete our native plants, particularly the delicate and small plants that put on a show in spring such as lilies and orchids. It is now classified as a Weed of National Significance in Australia. Bridal veil is spread a number of ways. The small white berries are appealing to birds and possums which easily spread the seeds. Soil disturbance and garden waste dumping also contribute to spread of this weed. The extensive root mass creates a thick mat under the ground. Because of this dense rhizome system, total physical removal of the weed is extremely difficult. Leaving one tuber can allow it to re-sprout.

Unlike its relative bridal creeper, there are no known bio-controls for bridal veil. Herbicide is the best recommended treatment. Herbicidal controls are best applied in late winter to spring, with fresh shoots already seen this month at known sites in the South East. It is also important to bag removed material and dispose of it. Ongoing mapping and yearly treatment are ensuring these isolated sites are targeted for control to prevent its spread.

There is every chance of eradicating this invasive weed from our region, but only if efforts are maintained, and control is thorough across its range.

Infestations of this weed can be found in Naracoorte, Lucindale, Avenue and Reedy Creek. If you believe you have seen this weed, or if you would like to be involved in control days to learn more about bridal veil, please contact a Natural Resources Management Officer at Natural Resources South East 8735 1177.

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