Donate online to help support Botany Photo of the Day

Subscribe to BPotD

Type your email address below!

BPotD Around the World!

Locations of visitors to this page

Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.

Myriophyllum aquaticum

Myriophyllum aquaticum

Another thank you to van swearingen@Flickr (original | BPotD Flickr Group Pool) for sharing an image with BPotD. Do note that even though this is the correct orientation of the photograph, the image posted on Flickr has been rotated by 180 degrees. I agree with the photographer that it appears more attractive that way, but you can judge for yourself.

Parrot's feather or Brazilian water-milfoil is native to most central and southern South American countries; you can observe it, though, in many other places. It is difficult not to notice the words “invasive”, “weed” and “alien” when browsing through the search engine result summaries. The species is present in the Global Invasive Species Database (Myriophyllum aquaticum), where it lists the alien range of the species as “Australia, Europe, Indonesia, Mediterranean, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States”.

The Washington State Department of Ecology provides an excellent fact sheet on Myriophyllum aquaticum. In part, it explains the spread of the species: its use in outdoor and indoor aquaria as well as aquatic gardens. Escapes from cultivation occur, as well as misguided intentional plantings. Attractive as it is, it can form a thick layer at the water surface, blocking light from penetrating deeper into the water body. Subsequent population declines in microscopic algae lead to an eventual withering of invertebrate and fish populations.

10 Comments

Susannah commented:

I have seen that, or something that looks identical to it in my photos, on Flickr at one of the ponds along the Burnaby foreshore, just across the road from Glenlyon Industrial Park.

If it is M. aquaticum, what can/should be done about it?

Meg Bernstein commented:

That's a great picture of milfoil. In the Adirondacks it is a bad guy and the lake where we have a cottage is patrolled yearly for signs of it. It has to be removed by hand, because any small parts that get chopped off will root themselves. Boat engines chop them up and cause new growth. But it sure is aesthetically pleasing..and I've heard it makes great compost.

Karalyn commented:

I really love this waterplant. Which I always call Parrot's Feather and my husband loves it because it looks like Christmas Trees.
I live in Boise, Idaho and have more of a problem of the plant not coming back in my fish pond.

I usually float it in the fish pond or plant it in a pot of soil and put it in the fish pond.

I did notice traveling to Ten Mile Lake in Oregon one summer, that the lake was full of it, well more the canal that connects the lake.
Very nice picture.

Michael Charters commented:

Very nice picture! We have this species in at least some places in southern California, but I have no idea how extensive it has become. We also have the Siberian milfoil, M. sibirica, which I encountered for the first time last year at the edge of a small lake near Idyllwild in the San Jacintos. It is a very different looking critter. You can see my page for that at: http://www.calflora.net/bloomingplants/siberianmilfoil.html

Daniel Mosquin commented:

Susannah, that does look like it. I've done a bit of research about it, but I can't find a direct answer to your question, so I've asked on the invasive plants forum.

Alex Jablanczy commented:

I am outraged that the Washington website which dares to include in its name eco- actually advises use of herbicides and worse actually mentions the name of that sinistar gangster company the cause of so much suffering grief destruction as Dow Chemicals and now Monsanto which is not only responsible for so much devastation and killing worldwide and even in Canada with the spraying of Agent orange Agent blue. They even dare to mention 24D and other carcinogenic mutagenic herbicides which are ecologically destructive and disease producing and lethal to all plants animals amd humans.
So dont fall for the apparent sham pseudoscience of these degenerates, appearing to be a government organisation is unforetunately not a gurantee of any integrity or scientific validity whatsoever.

Ron B commented:

Before you became outraged did you read the whole thing?

"Although parrot feather 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....

In actual practice, the Longview diking district (and others) report little success with using herbicides to control parrot feather. Glyphosate causes the emergent vegetation to turn black but within two weeks the plants have recovered. An experimental fall application of triclopyr to parrot feather also proved to be ineffective. Of the above herbicides, endothall, glyphosate, 2,4-D, and copper are permitted for aquatic use in Washington waters, but copper is generally permitted only as an algicide"

Margaret-Rae Davis commented:

Today's photograph is a lovely picture.
I did think invasive and use all links to find out more.
Thank you,
Margaret-Rae

Alex Jablanczy commented:

I sure did read precisely the paragraphs you requoted. What I missed was that actually they admit that their poisons are useless ineffective even in controlling let alone wiping out the intended targeted victim. This must be one of the most ludicrous selfdefeating admission of malice and incompetence as well as innefectuality rolled into one.
From now on I suggest we adopt this plant as the mascot of the environmental movement. Hurray it defeated Mansanto Dow chemicals
and the government of Washington State.
Can't be all bad.
This little plant is smarter than the Canadian and Sakatchewan Governments as they couldnt defeat Monsanto.

Susannah commented:

Thank you, Daniel. I followed your link, and the ones arising from that; I think it is, indeed, M. aquaticum. Sad.

I wrote about it on my blog, in Like tiny Christmas trees.

That's all I can think of to do, at the moment.

Comments are closed.

If you have a gardening question, the best place to ask is on the UBC Botanical Garden Forums. Thank you!

« Previous entry: Drosera menziesii | Main | Archives | Next entry: Actinotus helianthi »

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

 
UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research
6804 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z4
Tel: 604.822.3928
Fax: 604.822.2016 Email: garden.info@ubc.ca

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia