Onion weed

Onion weed

Asphodelus fistulosus

Scientific name

It is native to the Mediterranean region. but a common weed in parts of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico, and it thrives in any area with a Mediterranean climate.

It is an annual or short-lived perennial herb growing a hollow stem up to 70 centimeters tall. The root system has a series of tuber-like parts at the base of the stem. The plant takes the form of a large tuft of onion-like rounded hollow leaves up to 30 centimeters long. The inflorescence is a panicle with widely spaced flowers. Each flower is 5 to 12 millimeters wide with six tepals which are generally white or very pale pink with a neat central longitudinal stripe of brown to reddish-purple. The flowers are diurnal, closing at night and in overcast or low-light weather conditions. The fruit is a rounded capsule containing six seeds.

Propagation instructions

By seed

The parts of the bulb of this plant easily breaks off into small pieces as you pull it from the ground so the preferred method is to chemically treat the leaves. Place a piece of cardboard behind each leaf and paint it with herbicide (which one).

If not able to kill the plant with the chemical method, contain its spread by removing flower or seed heads before they disperse.

References and further reading

Wikipedia page »

Image credit: Hans Hillewaert

Can you help us remove this species?

This species is a difficult weed in our Fynbos patches. Can you help us remove it? See our activity calendar for upcoming activities, or arrange with us visit our Fynbos patches and do the weeding in your own time.

I can help!

Important characteristics

This species was selected because it is a difficult alien invasive weed in our Fynbos patch(es).

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