Skip to main content

Parrot feather watermilfoil (Myriophyllum aquaticum)

Parrot feather watermilfoil Common Names: Parrotfeather, Brazilian water-milfoil, Water-feather, Parrot-feather water-milfoil

Description: This species is listed on the Michigan prohibited aquatic plant list. Best surveyed in summer and fall; common water garden and aquarium plant.

Habit: Herbaceous, aquatic plant, 2-5 m (6.5-16.5 ft) in length, may emerge 30 cm (1 ft) out of water, forms monotypic stands.

Leaves: Bright blue-green in color, densely whorled, pinnately divided, submerged leaves with 10-18 segments on each side, 2-5 cm (0.5-1.25 in) long.

Stems: Can be up to 5 feet long, trail along the ground or water surface, becoming erect and leafy at the ends.

Flowers: If present, will emerge from axils of leaves.

Fruit and seeds: Fruits are achenes, 1.5-2 mm. long.

Habitat: Native to South America. Found in lakes, ponds, slow streams and mudflats, where the emergent form is found; tolerates water level fluctuations and thrives in high nutrient sites.

Reproduction: Fragments dispersed by boats and currents; all US plants appear to be female.

Similar species: Submersed form can be mistaken for the Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum).

Monitoring and rapid response: Most effective treatment is use of Glyphosate and 2,4-D, diquat, diquat and complex copper in summer or fall when water levels are low. Clearing off all boats and water-related equipment can prevent spreading.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the Burke Museum Of Natural History and Culture and the Michigan Natural Features Inventory.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (


Priority Species

Common Name:

Parrot feather watermilfoil

Scientific Name:

Myriophyllum aquaticum


(Water milfoil)





USDA Symbol:


View Species Course