Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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

Primarily a threat 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))

Other Latin names:  Asparagopsis setacea Kunth; Protasparagus setaceus (Kunth) Oberm.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: wen zhu

English: asparagus fern, climbing asparagus fern, lacy asparagus fern

Samoan: lau lili‘i, lau lili‘i, lau nini‘i, lau nini‘i

Spanish: creston

Tongan: taupo‘ou

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).

Recently published work revealed that Asparagus setaceus and Asparagus plumosus can be "distinguished by the arrangement of the cladodes: all in 1 plane (A. plumosus) or radiating in many planes (A. setaceus).  If this classification is followed, then the plant widespread in cultivation is to be called A. plumosus; the genuine A. setaceus (Kunth) Jessop is not in cultivation"  (Imada, Staples & Herbst, 2000; p. 13).  Therefore, see Asparagus plumosus for most Pacific listings.

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:  Eastern and southern Africa; also cultivated (GRIN).

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 (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Rota Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 100)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Palmerston (Avarau) Island   Sykes, Bill (year unknown)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Floreana Group
Floreana Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Isabela Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Volcán Sierra Negra, Isabela Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Rotuma Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1991) (voucher ID: BISH 638023)
Taxon name on voucher: Asparagus setaceus (Kunth) Jessop
French Polynesia
Gambier Islands
Mangareva (Gambier) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Fatu Hiva Island introduced
cultivated
Lorence, David H./Wagner, Warren L. (2013)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Hiva Oa Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Huahine Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R. (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
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: J. Florence 3513 (PAP)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Taha‘a Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R. (1997) (p. 65)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 352)
Voucher cited: Grant 4336
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Makatea (Ma‘atea) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: J. Florence 9108 (PAP). "Naturalisé sur karst en forêt secondarisée à Tecoma-Pandanus"
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Takapoto Atoll introduced
cultivated
Sachet, M-H. (1983) (p. 16)
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Rurutu Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 100)
Japan (offshore islands)
Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands
Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands introduced
Kato, Hidetoshi (2007)
Marshall Islands
Ratak Chain
Majuro (Mãjro) 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 (Loyalte Islands)
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
Ha‘apai Group
‘Uiha Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2001) (voucher ID: PTBG 257)
Taxon name on voucher: Asparagus setaceus
Tonga
Tonga Islands
Tonga Islands 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
China
China
China (People's Republic of) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Commonly cultivated and occasionally becoming naturalized.
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 357)
Ornamental.
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Healy, A. J./Edgar, E. (1980) (p. 52)
"N. Auckland City, escapes from gardens to a limited extent; Bethlehem, near Tauranga, well established in farm hedges"; voucher cited: A. E. Esler (CHR 274362)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 16)
Cultivated only
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
British Indian Ocean Territory
Chagos Archipelago
Diego Garcia Island introduced
cultivated
Whistler, W. Arthur (1996) (p. 32)

Comments:  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.

Additional online information about Asparagus setaceus is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Asparagus setaceus as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Asparagus setaceus may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

References:

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1991. Voucher specimen #BISH 638023 (McClatchey, W.C. 291).

Charles Darwin Foundation. 2008. Database inventory of introduced plant species in the rural and urban zones of Galapagos. Charles Darwin Foundation, Galapagos, Ecuador.

Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp.

Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. 2013. Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP). (online resource).

Fosberg, F. R. 1997. Preliminary checklist of the flowering plants and ferns of the Society Islands. Ed. by David R. Stoddart. U. Cal. Berkeley.

Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce. 1987. A geographical checklist of the Micronesian monocotyledonae. Micronesica 20:1-126.

Healy, A. J./Edgar, E. 1980. Flora of New Zealand, Volume III: Adventive cyperaceous, petalous & spathaceous monocotyledons. Government Printer, Wellington, New Zealand. 220 pp.

Kato, Hidetoshi. 2007. Herbarium records of Makino Herbarium, Tokyo Metropolitan University. Personal communication.

Lorence, David H./Wagner, Warren L. 2013. Flora of the Marquesas Islands. National Tropical Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian Institution. Online database.

MacKee, H. S. 1994. Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 164 p.

National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.). 2001. Voucher specimen #PTBG257(Tim Flynn 6878).

Pickard, J. 1984. Exotic plants on Lord Howe Island: Distribution in space and time, 1853-1981. J. of Biogeography 11:181-208.

Sachet, M-H. 1983. Takapoto Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago: terrestrial vegetation and flora. Atoll Research Bulletin No. 277. Smithsonian Institution, Washington. 41 pp. + photos.

Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara M./Newfield, Melanie/Bull, Cate. 2004. Report to the Government of Niue and the United Nations Development Programme: Invasive plant species on Niue following Cyclone Heta. UNDP NIU/98/G31 - Niue Enabling Activity. 80 pp.

Sykes, Bill. 0. Bill Sykes, pers. com.

Thaman, R. R./Fosberg, F. R./Manner, H. I./Hassall, D. C. 1994. The flora of Nauru. Smithsonian Institution, Washington. Atoll Research Bulletin 392:1-223.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. 2013. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online searchable database.

Vander Velde, Nancy. 2003. The vascular plants of Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Smithsonian Institution, Atoll Research Bulletin No. 503:1-141.

Welsh, S. L. 1998. Flora Societensis: A summary revision of the flowering plants of the Society Islands. E.P.S. Inc., Orem, Utah. 420 pp.

Whistler, W. A. 1991. The ethnobotany of Tonga: The plants, their Tongan names, and their uses. Bishop Museum Bulletin in Botany 2. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 155 pp. ISBN 0-930897-57-9.

Whistler, W. A. 2000. Plants in Samoan culture: The ethnobotany of Samoa. Isle Botanica. 234 pp. ISB: 0-9645426-6-8.

Whistler, W. A./Steele, O. 1999. Botanical survey of the United States of America Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Islands. Prepared for Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education and the U. S. Army Environmental Center. 111 pp.

Whistler, W. Arthur. 1996. Botanical survey of Diego Garcia, Chagos Archipelago, British Indian Ocean Territory. Isle Botanica. 49 pp.

Wu, Te-lin. 2001. Check List of Hong Kong Plants. Hong Kong Herbarium and the South China Institute of Botany. Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department Bulletin 1 (revised). 384 pp.

Yuncker, T. G. 1959. Plants of Tonga. Bishop Museum Bull. 220. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 343 pp.

Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong. 2013. Flora of China (online resource).


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 1 MAR 2013.