Eurasian water milfoil is a highly aggressive and invasive submerged aquatic weed that can spread rapidly. It forms a dense stand that shades out and replaces all other aquatic plants, seriously impacting on native plant and animal life. Dense mats also interfere with other uses of water bodies such as recreation and irrigation.
Eurasian water milfoil prefers lakes, ponds, shallow reservoirs and slow moving water, but will also grow in fast moving water.
Eurasian water milfoil is native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa. It is now naturalised and a major weed of lakes and reservoirs in Canada and the USA. It is also considered to be an invasive weed in its native range. This species has not been recorded as present in New South Wales (NSW) or elsewhere in Australia. If introduced, it has the potential to become a major weed of dams, lakes and reservoirs.
Eurasian water milfoil spreads mostly via plant fragments. During the growing season plants automatically fragment, often developing roots before they separate from the parent plant. Water movement and human activities may also cause fragmentation.
Fragments are spread over long distances by water currents and are mainly dispersed between water bodies by boating and fishing activities.
Eurasian water milfoil plants can die back to their base during winter, reshooting in spring.
Eurasian water milfoil is a submerged perennial plant. Stems are rooted at the base and grow towards the surface. It can grow in water from 0.5 to 10 m deep, but most commonly at depths up to 3 m deep.
Key identification features
It can tolerate and thrive in a range of temperatures and water conditions, including low levels of salinity.
2006 Edition prepared by Rachele Osmond; 2013 Edition prepared by Elissa van Oosterhout; Reviewed by Rod Ensbey
Aiken SG, Newroth PR and Wile I (1979) The biology of Canadian weeds, 34. Myriophyllum spicatum L., Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 59: 201–215
Hosking JR, Sainty G, Jacobs S and Dellow J (in prep.), The Australian WEEDbook.
Contact your local council weeds officer if you suspect you have found Eurasian water milfoil. Control of Eurasian water milfoil is difficult. Mechanical harvesting can lead to rapid reinfestation due to the plant being fragmented.
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State Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant