Spiked water milfoil

Myriophyllum spicatum

Common name:

Spiked water milfoil

Scientific name:

Myriophyllum spicatum

Alternative common names:

Eurasian water milfoil

Spiked water milfoil is a submerged aquatic plant that can rapidly take over a pond, lake or area of slow-moving water. It creates dense mats of vegetation that shade out other indigenous aquatic plants, diminish habitat and food resources valuable for fish and birds, and decrease oxygen levels in the water when the plant decays.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    North America, Europe, Asia and North Africa.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA Category 1b.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    All provinces except Free State.

    How does it spread?

    Via boats, transportation of habitat material and water currents.

    Why is it a problem?

    Spiked water milfoil forms dense, submerged masses which disrupt recreational activities and threaten aquatic ecosystems and irrigation schemes.

    What does it look like?

    Leaves: Olive-green, finely divided and arranged in whorls of 4-6. Flowers: Cream, small, 1.6-1.8mm long, female and male, arranged in whorls on emergent spikes 50-100 mm long. Fruit/seeds: Small nuts about 3mm in diameter.

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Ornamental.

    Plant me instead alternatives

    Water hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum)