Parrotfeather Myriophyllum aquaticum

Rooted weed with mass of floating, delicate, feathery, oblong, bright green leaves - and stems that trail along the ground or water surface, becoming erect and leafy at the ends

  • English Name: Parrotfeather
  • Latin Name: Myriophyllum aquaticum
  • Propogate: reproduces asexually, fragmentation
  • Symptoms:
  • Dangers: Provides cover for mosquito larvae and makes boating and swimming difficult and can also clog waterways.

The Personal Portfolio of the Parrotfeather Weed

There is a point to all this extravagance. The Parrotfeather Weed scientific name Myriophyllum Aquaticum is a milfoil pond weed. Those are the weeds with leaves that are made of tiny leaflets in the design of a feather, and which are quite difficult to visually differentiate. The sense of style of the Parrotfeather Weed ensures that it is not easily mistaken for those other milfoils, particularly the more common Eurasian, Variable-Leaf, Northern and Whorled Watermilfoils.

The Parrotfeather is not native to the US. Rather, it is a South American immigrant that found its way to North America as an exotic aquarium plant. And despite its choosy character, the weed is common in river tributaries, streams, ponds, lakes and canals across the US, with a high concentration in about 26 states. It grows profusely and dominates its environment with stems growing up to five feet long.

Still, the weed retains the reproduction techniques of its milfoil heritage. It is a perennial plant that survives through the season, even as its sheds foliage in winter. It produces viable seeds but supplements them with vegetative fragmentation. Any mature stem that finds itself detached from the parent plant proceeds to grow into an independent plant.

Controlling the Parrotfeather Weed

The Parrotfeather Weed is mostly a nuisance weed with few benefits. It is not liked by waterfowls and other animals, possibly because it is foreign to most local ecosystems. It also tends to form dense mats on shallow water that inhibits the growth of native aquatic plants and provides cover for mosquito larvae.

Like other nuisance weeds, it ends up making it difficult for boats and swimmers to find their way. It is especially bad on drainage ditches where it can totally clog the waterway.

But, even by the resilient standards of weeds, the Parrotfeather Weed is hard to eradicate. First, it is not easily destroyed by physical removal with normal implements such as cutters, rakes or nets, because the inevitable fragments quickly re-colonize the environment. Second, it covers new stems and leaves with a waxy cuticle that protects the plant against herbicides.

Possibly the best method of tackling the Parrotfeather Weed is to use the Lake Bottom Blanket. This is our lead weed control product that has so far demonstrated a 100% weeding killing rate in over 400 lakes across 29 countries. It is made of a sheet of specially formulated polyethylene, about 10 feet width and as long as required, that is lowered into the water by attached weights. The blanket's material is lighter than water, it weighting system allows it pins down the weed while remaining suspended in the water so as to allow aquatic animals to move freely above and below the sheet.

The Blanket kills weeds by totally denying them sunlight. For the highly sun-sensitive Parrotfeather Weed, the technique is particularly effective.

The Lake Bottom Weed is approved for use by the DNRs and DEPs of California, Nevada, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Washington.

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