Parrot’s feather

Myriophyllum aquaticum
Parrot’s feather: Myriophyllum aquaticum Parrot’s feather: Myriophyllum aquaticum

Common name:

Parrot’s feather

Scientific name:

Myriophyllum aquaticum (Haloragaceae)

Alternative common names:

Water feather; water milfoil (English), waterduisendblaar (Afrikaans), uphaphe; lukapoli (isiZulu).

A spirally leafed, aquatic plant capable of forming dense infestations in waterways with pale green, finely divided, feather-like leaves arranged in whorls. Tiny, solitary, inconspicuous cream flowers forming in the axils of the leaves from May-September. It invades still or slow-moving water on the banks of rivers, lakes and ponds.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    South America

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    Existing legislation: CARA 2002 – Category 1 NEMBA – Category 1b

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces

    How does it spread?

    Spread via plant fragments and intentional plantings

    Why is it a problem?

    Forms dense rooted mats which disrupt recreational activities, threaten aquatic ecosystems and irrigation schemes. Dense mats clog waterways, reduce water flow and block irrigation equipment. The mats provide ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes and bilharzia-carrying snails

    What does it look like?

    General description: A spirally leafed aquatic plant capable of forming dense infestations in waterways. Leaves: Pale green, finely divided, feather-like and arranged in whorls. Flowers: Tiny, solitary, inconspicuous cream flowers forming in the axils of the leaves from May-September. Fruit/Seeds: Does not produce fruits

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Used as an ornamental aquatic plant

    Plant me instead alternatives

    Creeping ludwigia (Ludwigia stolonifera), Water parsnip (Sium repandum), water chestnut (Trapa natans)