Weed of the Week: Bridal Veil Creeper

Published on 03 January 2023

Bridal Veil Creeper -in flower - Image by Gigi Laidler, CC BY-NC.jpeg

Welcome back to Weed of the Week, a series of articles where we give you the information you need to protect your property and our region from the Snowy Monaro’s priority weeds.

This week we’re talking about Bridal Veil Creeper – a growing threat to our pristine natural environment and native species.

Snowy Monaro Regional Council is calling on all community members to get to know the weed species that can impact our region – priority weeds. By knowing what to look for, we can all do our part to protect our environment, help our farmers and support our community.

The impact of weeds on our community can be devastating and is estimated to cost the NSW economy about $1.8 billion annually (NSW Department of Industry, 2018).

Bridal Veil Creeper -in flower - Image by Gigi Laidler, CC BY-NC.jpeg
Image by Gigi Laidler, CC BY-NC

What is Bridal Veil Creeper?

Bridal Veil Creeper (Asparagus declinatus) is a small fern-like weed that grows quickly, densely, and across a wide array of soils and environments.

Through the colder, wetter months of autumn and winter this weed presents as a spindly climbing fern. In spring and summer the above-ground parts of the plant die off, but the root system remains alive. So this is a message to be prepared and keep eyes open in coming months.

It is characterised by very fine needle-shaped leaves (technically modified stems), greenish-white flowers which become egg-shaped white to blue-grey fruit.

Root systems are dense and mat-like, with an abundance of rhizomes and tubers. These can grow as deep as 1m in sandy soil, though much shallower in other soil types.

It is Prohibited Matter in New South Wales and must be reported immediately, and is prohibited from being sold, traded or possessed by anyone for any reason.

Bridal Veil Creeper 2 - Image by Dave Richardson, CC-BY.jpg
Image by Dave Richardson, CC-BY

Where is Bridal Veil Creeper found?

Bridal Veil Creeper is native to South Africa, but has been naturalised (meaning eradication is no longer feasible) since 1954 in Australia.

It is found across southern Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia – with no known incursions into New South Wales.

This weed is well suited to the growing conditions in the south east of our state, including in much of the Snowy Monaro.

It grows in sand, rocky outcrops, and nearly any kind of soil.

Due to this, it is critically important that we are all vigilant and keep an eye out to prevent this devastating invasive species from taking hold here.

Bridal Veil Creeper - Image by Dave Richardson, CC-BY.jpg
Image by Dave Richardson, CC-BY

Why is Bridal Veil Creeper a problem?

Being preferentially grazed by livestock, Bridal Veil Creeper poses little threat to grazing agricultural properties.

The real risk posed by this weed is to our natural environments. It easily outcompetes native seedlings, ground cover, and shrubs – smothering and overwhelming native plant life.

In turn this has a significant impact on available shelter, habitat and food for native fauna.

The Snowy Monaro is home to some of the most precious, rare and vulnerable native habitats and unspoilt ecosystems in Australia – and Bridal Veil Creeper presents a very serious risk to this local natural environment.

Bridal Veil Creeper -stem close-up - Image by Gigi Laidler, CC BY-NC.jpeg
Image by Gigi Laidler, CC BY-NC

What do you do if you detect Bridal Veil Creeper?

Bridal Veil Creeper is a Prohibited Matter weed in NSW and must be immediately reported if sighted, discovered or suspected.

Do not attempt to destroy or control this weed on your own. If you find, or suspect that you have found this weed on your property, in public, or anywhere else in our region – call Council on 1300 345 345 or the NSW Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 immediately.

Council, NSW Department of Primary Industries and other partner agencies will initiate an immediate emergency response program at no cost to the landowner.

Eliminating weed infestations in their early stages of invasion provides significantly greater return on investment than trying to manage it once established.

Bridal Veil Creeper - Image by Tony Rebelo CC BY-SA.jpg
Image by Tony Rebelo CC BY-SA

What can you do?

  • Learn to identify Bridal Veil Creeper and seek immediate advice if you think you’ve found this weed growing on your property or in our region
  • Clean machinery and source clean topsoil, fill and other earthen materials
  • Carefully consider where you source hay, grain and other supplies
  • Maintain strong, competitive pastures
  • Contact Council’s Biosecurity officers if you suspect the presence of Bridal Veil Creeper or other similar plants – there are other so-called asparagus weeds that pose a threat to our region and your property. Our staff provide a free, onsite weed identification and advisory service.

Download the free NSW WeedWise app for detailed information on how to identify and manage local priority weeds. Visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/weeds

Visit Council’s website to understand how we can help you with weed management.  www.snowymonaro.nsw.gov.au/Environment-Waste-and-Weeds/Biosecurity-and-Weeds

Visit the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) website for information on weed control methods – www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/weeds/weed-control


Contact Snowy Monaro Regional Council if you have any questions regarding weeds on your property or in your neighbourhood. Call 1300 345 345 to be connected to our Biosecurity Officers who specialise in weed management.

The information for this article is sourced from the NSW Department of Primary Industries WeedWise portal.


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