Colossal Ground Asparagus found on flanks of Mt Gower, Lord Howe Island

On the 9th February 2017 the Lord Howe Island (LHI) Board weed team unearthed a colossal Ground Asparagus (Groundy) – Asparagus aethiopicus on the northern flanks of Mt Gower, at 270m elevation.

This is a Weed of National Significance (WONS) but on Lord Howe Island, in this location, it is of Major Significance.

This is the first extent of search effort undertaken at this location. We estimate the Groundy to be over a decade old and we are lucky that it hasn’t taken hold as very few additional plants have been found. Ground Asparagus poses a direct threat to the Gnarled Mossy Cloud Forest Endangered Ecological Community - on the summit of Mt Gower and across other localities on Lord Howe Island . It also poses a risk to at least six endangered plants which also occur in the southern mountains including the Critically Endangered Lord Howe Island Morning Glory (Calystegia affinis).

Prior to this bad but good weed find, only 1 seedling of Groundy has been detected on the Gower weed management unit.  

This area was accessed by teams walking up from Erskine Creek, a massive day of work. Search effort on the upper slopes beyond this site will be aided by helicopter winch access. See image of GPS track log undertaken to date.

The teams undertaking this project work have largely been funded by the NSW Saving our Species Program and the Lord Howe Island Board. The early detection and rapid response to treat outlying Ground Asparagus on cliffs and remote terrain on Lord Howe Island is vitally important. Developments in aero robotic (drone) applications and detection signatures to assist remote area weed search is being funded by the NSW Environmental Trust.

Meanwhile, the Lord Howe Island Weed Team will keep up the pace on the ground with Groundy.

Mature Infestation of Ground Asparagus PDF 1.3 MB