Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Asparagus falcatus ..... Sicklethorn

 ........ is a large, thorny, climbing plant from the family Asparagaceae and is indigenous to South Africa and Mozambique. It is often grown as a security hedge in southern Africa.

This Asparagus species sends up long shoots, sometimes up to 7 meters high from its base of roots and massive tubers. These shoots are initially soft and curl around branches or fences. However, they soon harden, and the downward-pointing thorns help to hook the tendril onto its support - as well as providing defence.
The woody stems are grey in colour.
Leaves are shiny, dark green, often sickle shaped (hence
the name!). Woody stems have hard, hooked thorns and
are light grey in colour.
It produces fragrant white blossoms that are followed by bright red berries, each containing a shiny black seed. The fruits attract a wide variety of birds.

It is planted here in the Jungle corner of the garden where it climbs up the 10 ft tall wall then continues up and over a metal archway on the terrace above.  

It has recently caused a stir amongst weed managers on the
east coast of Australia. 
The weed, commonly known as sicklethorn, is
known to occur on the mid north coastal region of NSW
and south east Queensland.
 A robust climber that prefers moist, semishaded
growing conditions1 and as it looks unlike other
Asparagus weeds that have naturalised in Australia it may
not obviously strike people as a member of the Asparagaceae
Introduced into Queensland as a garden plant and since
 escaped in waterways,  Sicklethorn is native to
western, eastern and southern Africa, Sri Lanka, the Canary
Islands and the Mediterranean.