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  • Myriophyllum aquaticum (left) and M. robustum (right) (Photo: A. Taumoepeau, NIWA)
  • Mat of Myriophyllum aquaticum in a Kaituna (NZ) drain (Photo: D. Hofstra, NIWA)
  • Line drawing (Property of NIWA)
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Common name
parrotfeather (English), water-feather (English), waterduisendblaar (Afrikaans), thread-of-life (English), brazilian watermilfoil (English), parrot feather (English), parrot's-feather (English), parrot feather watermilfoil (English), pinheirinho-d'água (Portuguese, Brazil)
Synonym
Enydria aquatica , (Vell.)
Myriophyllum brasiliense , (Camb.)
Myriophyllum proserpinacoides , (Gillies ex Hook. & Arn.)
Similar species
Cabomba caroliniana, Ceratophyllum demersum, Lagarosiphon muscoides, Myriophyllum robustum, Myriophyllum spicatum, Lagarosiphon major
Summary
Myriophyllum aquaticum is a bright or glaucous green perennial freshwater herb. It exhibits two different leaf forms depending on whether it is growing as a submerged plant or as an emergent. It is found in freshwater lakes, ponds, streams and canals, and appears to be adapted to high nutrient environments. Myriophyllum aquaticum does well in good light and a slightly alkaline environment. Almost all Myriophyllum aquaticum plants are female, and male plants are unknown outside of South America. Rhizomes function as a support structure for adventitious roots and provide buoyancy for emergent growth during the summer. Myriophyllum aquaticum has been introduced for use in indoor and outdoor aquaria. It is also a popular aquatic garden plant. It has escaped cultivation and spread via plant fragments and intentional plantings. Whilst there is some belief that Myriophyllum aquaticum is susceptible to herbicides, there is very little information available regarding successful management.
Species Description
Washington State's Department of Ecology (2003) states that M. aquaticum, \"Gets its name from its feather-like leaves which are arranged around the stem in whorls of four to six. M. aquaticum has both submersed and emergent leaves. The submersed leaves are 1.5 to 3.5 centimeters long and have 20 to 30 divisions per leaf. The emergent leaves are 2 to 5 centimetres long and have 6 to 18 divisions per leaf. The bright green emergent leaves are stiffer and a darker green than the submersed leaves. The emergent stems and leaves are the most distinctive trait of M. aquaticum, as they can grow up to a foot above the water surface and look almost like small fir trees.\"
Lifecycle Stages
Myriophyllum aquaticum exhibits an annual pattern of growth.Myriophyllum aquaticum lacks tubers, turions, and winterbuds, rhizomes serve all those functions. In the spring, shoots begin to grow rapidly from overwintering rhizomes as water temperatures increase. Rhizomes function as a support structure for adventitious roots and provide buoyancy for emergent growth during the summer. Emergent stems and leaves extend from a few inches to over one foot above the waters surface. Underwater leaves tend to senesce as the season advances. Plants usually flower in the spring but some plants may also flower in the fall. The inconspicuous flowers form where the emergent leaves attach to the stem. In fall M. aquaticum typically dies back to the rhizomes. M. aquaticum does not store phosphorus or carbon in its rhizomes and this characteristic may explain the failure of M. aquaticum to invade areas with severe winters.\"
Habitat Description
Myriophyllum aquaticum, \"Is found in freshwater lakes, ponds, streams, and canals and appears to be adapted to high nutrient environments. It tends to colonize slowly moving or still water rather than in areas with higher flow rates. While it grows best when rooted in shallow water, it has been known to occur as a floating plant in the deep water of nutrient-enriched lakes. The emergent stems can survive on wet banks of rivers and lake shores, so it is well adapted to moderate water level fluctuations.
Reproduction
Washington State's Department of Ecology (2003) states that, \"Virtually all M. aquaticum plants are female. Male plants are unknown outside of South America, so no seeds are produced in North American populations. Since M. aquaticum also lacks tubers or other specialized reproductive overwintering structures like turions, it spreads exclusively by plant fragments outside of its native range. Unlike Eurasian watermilfoil, M. aquaticum does not form autofragments. However, fragments can be formed mechanically and will readily root. With its tough rhizomes, M. aquaticum can be transported long distances on boat trailers. Rhizomes stored under moist conditions in a refrigerator survived for one year.\"
Nutrition
Myriophyllum aquaticum exists in a pH range of 6.8 to 8.0, with temperatures ranging from 16 to 23C. It can withstand a water hardness level between 50 - 200 ppm. It does well in good light and a slightly alkaline environment (FNZAS UNDATED)
Pathway
Myriophyllum aquaticum is a popular aquatic garden plant. However, it has escaped cultivation and spread via plant fragments and intentional plantings (Washington State's Department of Ecology 2003).

Principal source: Technical Information About Parrotfeather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) (Washington State's Department of Ecology, 2003).
Myriophyllum aquaticum (PIER, 2003).

Compiler: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)

Review: Linda Y. Mabulu, Weeds Research Division, Agricultural Research Council-Plant Protection Research Institute (ARC-PPRI), South Africa

Publication date: 2005-11-28

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2016) Species profile: Myriophyllum aquaticum. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=401 on 28-09-2016.

General Impacts
ERDC (UNDATED) states that, \"M. aquaticum grow in sluggish waters, edges of streams, lakes, ponds, drainage and irrigation ditches, and canals, backwaters, sloughs and lagoons. Populations may be quite dense, sometimes as floating mats that have been uprooted, often choking waterways and impeding navigation.\" Washington State's Department of Ecology (2003) states that M. aquaticum, \"has been introduced worldwide for use in indoor and outdoor aquaria. It is also a popular aquatic garden plant. However, it has escaped cultivation and spread via plant fragments and intentional plantings. While M. aquaticum may provide cover for some aquatic organisms, it can seriously change the physical and chemical characteristics of lakes and streams. Infestations can alter aquatic ecosystems by shading out the algae in the water column that serve as the basis of the aquatic food web. In addition, the plant provides choice mosquito larvae habitat. The plant can also restrict recreational opportunities in these bodies of water.
Management Info
Preventative measures: A Risk assessment of \r\r\nMyriophyllum aquaticum for Australia was prepared by Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) using the Australian risk assessment system (Pheloung, 1995). The result is a score of 20 and a recommendation of: reject the plant for import (Australia) or species likely to be a pest (Pacific).

\r\nPhysical: As plants reproduce vegetativly mechanical methods which will cut up rhizomes and stems will only increase spread.

\r\nChemical: Washington State's Department of Ecology (2003) states that, \"Although M. aquaticum is considered by some to be susceptible to herbicides, it is difficult to achieve complete control. The emergent stems and leaves have a thick waxy cuticle and it requires a wetting agent to penetrate this cuticle. Often the weight of the spray will cause the emergent vegetation to collapse into the water where the herbicide is washed off before it can be translocated throughout the plant.

\r\nBiological: Biological control is used effectivly in South Africa, one insect species of the genus Lysathia is being used (Mabulu, L.Y., pers. comm., 2004). Parrot feather has a high tannin content so most grazers, including grass carp, find it unpalatable (Washington State's Department of Ecology, 2003).

Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Myriophyllum aquaticum
NATIVE RANGE
  • argentina
  • bolivia
  • brazil
  • chile
  • ecuador
  • paraguay
  • peru
Informations on Myriophyllum aquaticum has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Myriophyllum aquaticum in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
ERDC (UNDATED) states that, \"M. aquaticum grow in sluggish waters, edges of streams, lakes, ponds, drainage and irrigation ditches, and canals, backwaters, sloughs and lagoons. Populations may be quite dense, sometimes as floating mats that have been uprooted, often choking waterways and impeding navigation.\" Washington State's Department of Ecology (2003) states that M. aquaticum, \"has been introduced worldwide for use in indoor and outdoor aquaria. It is also a popular aquatic garden plant. However, it has escaped cultivation and spread via plant fragments and intentional plantings. While M. aquaticum may provide cover for some aquatic organisms, it can seriously change the physical and chemical characteristics of lakes and streams. Infestations can alter aquatic ecosystems by shading out the algae in the water column that serve as the basis of the aquatic food web. In addition, the plant provides choice mosquito larvae habitat. The plant can also restrict recreational opportunities in these bodies of water.
Red List assessed species 0:
Locations
Mechanism
[1] Competition
[1] Interaction with other invasive species
Outcomes
[5] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [2] Modification of hydrology/water regulation, purification and quality /soil moisture
  • [1] Primary production alteration
  • [1] Modification of nutrient pool and fluxes
  • [1] Reduction in native biodiversity
[1] Environmental Species - Population
  • [1] Plant/animal health
[7] Socio-Economic
  • [1] Damage on aquaculture/mariculture/fishery
  • [1] Human health
  • [1] Human nuisance 
  • [1] Damage to infrastructures
  • [1] Alteration of recreational use and tourism
  • [2] Limited access to water, land and other
Management information
Preventative measures: A Risk assessment of \r\r\nMyriophyllum aquaticum for Australia was prepared by Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) using the Australian risk assessment system (Pheloung, 1995). The result is a score of 20 and a recommendation of: reject the plant for import (Australia) or species likely to be a pest (Pacific).

\r\nPhysical: As plants reproduce vegetativly mechanical methods which will cut up rhizomes and stems will only increase spread.

\r\nChemical: Washington State's Department of Ecology (2003) states that, \"Although M. aquaticum is considered by some to be susceptible to herbicides, it is difficult to achieve complete control. The emergent stems and leaves have a thick waxy cuticle and it requires a wetting agent to penetrate this cuticle. Often the weight of the spray will cause the emergent vegetation to collapse into the water where the herbicide is washed off before it can be translocated throughout the plant.

\r\nBiological: Biological control is used effectivly in South Africa, one insect species of the genus Lysathia is being used (Mabulu, L.Y., pers. comm., 2004). Parrot feather has a high tannin content so most grazers, including grass carp, find it unpalatable (Washington State's Department of Ecology, 2003).

Locations
Management Category
Prevention
Control
Unknown
Bibliography
25 references found for Myriophyllum aquaticum

Managment information
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), 2004. Control of Aquatic and Riparian Plants: Information sheet: Control of Parrot s feather Myriophyllum aquaticum
Summary: Available from: http://www.nerc-wallingford.ac.uk/research/capm/pdf%20files/24%20Myriophyllum%20aquaticum.pdf [Accessed 7 November 2007]
Champion, P. Clayton, J. and Rowe, D. 2002. Alien Invaders Lake Managers� Handbook. Ministry for the Environment.
Summary: Available from: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/water/lm-alien-invaders-jun02.pdf [Accessed 3 February 2005]
Champion, P.D.; Clayton, J.S. 2000. Border control for potential aquatic weeds. Stage 1. Weed risk model. Science for Conservation 141. .
Summary: This report is the first stage in a three-stage development of a Border Control Programme for aquatic plants that have the potential to become ecological weeds in New Zealand.
Available from: http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/science-and-technical/sfc141.pdf [Accessed 13 June 2007]
Champion, P.D.; Clayton, J.S. 2001. Border control for potential aquatic weeds. Stage 2. Weed risk assessment. Science for Conservation 185. 30 p.
Summary: This report is the second stage in the development of a Border Control Programme for aquatic plants that have the potential to become ecological weeds in New Zealand. Importers and traders in aquatic plants were surveyed to identify the plant species known or likely to be present in New Zealand. The Aquatic Plant Weed Risk Assessment Model was used to help assess the level of risk posed by these species. The report presents evidence of the various entry pathways and considers the impact that new invasive aquatic weed species may have on vulnerable native aquatic species and communities.
Available from: http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/science-and-technical/SFC185.pdf [Accessed 13 June 2007]
European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO), 2005. Reporting Service 2005, No. 9.
Summary: The EPPO Reporting Service is a monthly information report on events of phytosanitary concern. It focuses on new geographical records, new host plants, new pests (including invasive alien plants), pests to be added to the EPPO Alert List, detection and identification methods etc. The EPPO Reporting Service is published in English and French.
Available from: http://archives.eppo.org/EPPOReporting/2005/Rse-0509.pdf [Accessed 28 November 2005]
Henderson, L and Cilliers, C.J. 2002. Invasive Aquatic Plants. Paarl Printers, Cape Town.
Summary: A guide to the identification of the most important and potentially dangerous invasive aquatic and wetland plants in South Africa.
Lysathia. A natural enemy of PARROT�S FEATHER/WATERDUISENBLAAR (Myriophyllum aquaticum) in South Africa. Dossiers on biological control agents available to aid alien plant control.
Summary: Biocontrol of Myriophyllum aquaticum
National Pest Plant Accord, 2001. Biosecurity New Zealand.
Summary: The National Pest Plant Accord is a cooperative agreement between regional councils and government departments with biosecurity responsibilities. Under the accord, regional councils will undertake surveillance to prevent the commercial sale and/or distribution of an agreed list of pest plants.
Available from: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests-diseases/plants/accord.htm [Accessed 11 August 2005]
New Zealand Plant Conservation Network, 2005. Unwanted Organisms. Factsheet Myriophyllum aquaticum
NIWA, 2003.
Summary: Information on the spread, impact and management of M.aquaticum in New Zealand.
Available from: http://www.niwa.co.nz/rc/prog/aquaticplants/news/index.html [Accessed 27 Jan, 2004]
PIER (Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk), 2003. Myriophyllum aquaticum
Summary: Ecology, synonyms, common names, distributions (Pacific as well as global), management and impact information.
Available from: http://www.hear.org/pier/species/myriophyllum_aquaticum.htm [Accessed October 25 2003]
Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture (RNZIH), 2005. Parrot s feather Myriophyllum aquaticum
Summary: Available from: http://www.rnzih.org.nz/pages/nppa_068.pdf [Accessed 1 October 2005]
Tasman District Council (TDC) 2001. Tasman-Nelson Regional Pest Management Strategy
Varnham, K. 2006. Non-native species in UK Overseas Territories: a review. JNCC Report 372. Peterborough: United Kingdom.
Summary: This database compiles information on alien species from British Overseas Territories.
Available from: http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-3660 [Accessed 10 November 2009]
Washington State s Department of Ecology. 2003. Technical Information About Parrotfeather (Myriophyllum aquaticum). Water Quality Program: Non-Native Freshwater Plants.
Summary: Information on description, economic importance, distribution, habitat, history, growth, and impacts and management of species.
Available from: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/plants/weeds/aqua003.html [Accessed October 25 2003]
General information
Aquatic Weed Fact Sheet. NC State University.
Summary: Information on parrot s feather occurance and spread in North Carolina, USA.
Available from: http://www.cropsci.ncsu.edu/aquaticweeds. [Accessed 27 Jan 2004].
Conservatoire Botanique National De Mascarin (BOULLET V. coord.) 2007. - Mtriophyllum aquaticum Index de la flore vasculaire de la R�union (Trach�ophytes) : statuts, menaces et protections. - Version 2007.1 (mise � jour 12 juin 2007).
Summary: Base de donn�es sur la flore de la R�union. De nombreuses informations tr�s utiles.
Available from: http://flore.cbnm.org/index2.php?page=taxon&num=9b1fc5df81cadf52164c02bf92678f95 [Accessed 9 April 2008]
ERDC (Engineer Research and Development Center). UNDATED. Myriophyllum aquaticum (Vell.) Verdc. (Parrotfeather) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Noxious and Nuisance Plant Management Information System.
Summary: Information on distribution, description, growth characteristics, and problems associated with species.
FNZAS (Federation of New Zealand Aquatic Societies Inc.). UNDATED. Myriophyllum aquaticum. FNZAS Plant Survey.
Summary: Information on nutrient requirements of species.
Available from: http://www.fnzas.org.nz/320+B6JnVzZXJfcGxhbnRzPTk3JmNIYXNoPTk2YjI1ZWVmZDg_.0.html [Accessed October 25 2003]
Invasive Aliens in Northern Ireland, 2005. Myriophyllum aquaticum Parrot s feather
Summary: Available from: http://www.habitas.org.uk/invasive/species.asp?item=14129 [Accessed 7 November 2007]
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System), 2005. Online Database Myriophyllum aquaticum
Summary: An online database that provides taxonomic information, common names, synonyms and geographical jurisdiction of a species. In addition links are provided to retrieve biological records and collection information from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal and bioscience articles from BioOne journals.
Available from: http://www.cbif.gc.ca/pls/itisca/taxastep?king=every&p_action=containing&taxa=Myocastor+coypus&p_format=&p_ifx=plglt&p_lang= [Accessed March 2005]
USDA-NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service). 2002. Myriophyllum aquaticum. The PLANTS Database Version 3.5 [Online Database] National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA
Summary: Available from: http://plants.usda.gov/java/nameSearch?mode=Scientific+Name&keywordquery=Myriophyllum+aquaticum [Accessed 22 October 2005].
Contact
The following 2 contacts offer information an advice on Myriophyllum aquaticum
Henderson,
Lesley
Geographical surveys of alien invasive plants
Organization:
Weeds Research Division, (ARC-PPRI), South Africa
Address:
c/o National Botanical Gardens, Private X101, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa
Phone:
27 12 804 3200
Fax:
27 12 804 3211
Y. Mabulu,
Linda
Eichhorniae crassipes, Myriophyllum aquaticum, Azolla filiculoides, Salvinia molesta, Pistia stratiotes
Organization:
Weeds Research Division, (ARC-PPRI), South Africa
Address:
Private Bag X134, Queenswood, 0121, South Africa
Phone:
2712 356 9849
Fax:
27 12 329 3278