Multi-faceted approach to determine origins of Myriophyllum spicatum

Philip S.r. Weyl, Julie a Coetzee- Zoology and Entomology Department, Rhodes University, Grahamstown

Controversy over the status of Parrot’s feather (Myriophyllum spicatum) in South Africa (Whether it is native or exotic) needs to be resolved before any irreversible management strategies are put in place.

In this study we used a multifaceted approach to determine the status of this plant including historical records of distribution in southern Africa, population matching using genetics, morphological studies and herbivore diversity.

Historical records suggest anthropogenic point source introductions, possibly with the transport of ornamental fishes.

The genetic analysis suggests the southern African plants in southern Africa which, despite growing conditions, will not revert to a uniform original type, suggesting separate introductions or evolutionary variations of a native population.

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