Eurasian Watermilfoil

Myriophyllum spicatum

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Description

Submerged, perennial, aquatic plant; green feather-like leaves and stem brownish-red to light green; flowers between late July and August with pink petals. *Native milfoil also in Nebraska – has fewer than 12 leaf segments on each side (Eurasian milfoil leaves have 14+ leaf segments). Native milfoil also has toothed leaves and the plant feels rough.

Habitat

Freshwater lakes, ponds, and slow moving areas of rivers and streams. Can tolerate brackish waters.

Location in Nebraska

First collected in Hall and Lancaster counties in 1980, has since spread to Merrick, Fillmore, Dakota, Greeley, Wheeler and likely others.

Pathway of Introduction and Spread

Introduced through the dumping of aquarium contents. Motorboat traffic contributes to natural fragmentation and the distribution of fragments throughout lakes. Can also spread via attaching to boats, trailers and other aquatic equipment.

Impacts

Competes aggressively to displace and reduce the diversity of native aquatic plants. Spring growth begins earlier than other plants and quickly grows to the surface, forming dense canopies that overtop and shade the surrounding plants. Dense beds restrict swimming, fishing, boating and clog water intake pipes of industries and irrigators.

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