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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.
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)