|ODA rating: B
USDA Symbol: MYAQ2
Oregon parrots feather distribution
Other common names
Brazilian water milfoil
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Images courtesy of Glenn Miller, Oregon Dept. of Agriculture
If images are downloaded and used from the ODA web site please be sure to credit the photographer.
Parrot's feather is an attractive aquatic plant with feathery lime-green leaves arranged in whorls on long stems (rhizomes). Flowers are small and white. The submersed leaves are limp and often appear to be decaying but the stems are very robust. The surface parts of the plants are the most distinctive trait as they can grow up to a foot above the water and look almost like small fir trees. Parrot's feather is found in freshwater lakes, ponds, streams, and canals and appears to be adapted to high nutrient environments. It tends to colonize slowly moving or still water rather than in areas with higher flow rates. The emergent stems can survive on wet banks of rivers and lakeshores, so it is well adapted to moderate water level fluctuations.
The main impacts of the plant result from the dense mats it forms on the surface of water. Heavily infested waters face reductions in native plant diversity and community structure, reduction in recreational use, loss of fish production and alterations of water chemistry resulting from high levels of decaying vegetation. Irrigation canal systems in California, experience flow restrictions and increased maintenance costs due to plant removal efforts. Mosquito populations are documented to increase significantly in infested waters.
Native to South America and the Amazon River basin. Was introduced into the US in the late 1800s for use in aquariums and water gardens. This species has been reported in the Pacific Northwest since the 1940's and can now be found in many slow-moving waterways, lakes, ponds and sloughs
Distribution in Oregon
There are no biological controls available at this time.