Pretty name, ugly weed
19 July 2021
Recently, an eagle-eyed member of the public found a small cluster of the declared weed, Parrot feather Myriophyllum aquaticum in a creek in Nairne.
The plant (shown below) had not been recorded in the region since 2015, when it was identified in Nairne Creek by botanist Chris Brodie. At the time, it was immediately controlled and had not been seen again until May this year.
Landholders in the area are now being urged to report any sightings of the weed, which may have spread along waterways due to recent rains.
It is illegal to sell or transport Parrot feather, which has very thin, 2-4cm leaves divided into fine segments similar to feathers. The plant is native to South America and is used as an ornamental pond and aquarium plant. The submerged, aquatic perennial grows from rhizomes (underground stems) in shallow fresh water.
If aquarium waste in dumped in waterways, Parrot feather can become established in the wild. As the plant grows, its stems float out over the water surface to form dense, impenetrable weed masses which interfere with water flow and compete with native vegetation.
Parrot feather does not form seeds in Australia but easily spreads just from pieces of the plant.
Small fragments of rhizomes (underground stems) can also establish in mud to form new colonies, and pieces of the stem which have developed roots will spread to other areas if they wash downstream.
To help reduce the spread of this weed, please carefully dispose of aquarium waste by drying it out, bagging all plant material and placing in the rubbish bin.
Any Parrot feather seen in our waterways should be reported immediately along with its location to the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board at Mount Barker on 83917500 or firstname.lastname@example.org