Spiked Water-Milfoil Facts & Care Guide (Myriophyllum spicatum) – Everything You Need to Know

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the spiked water-milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), a fascinating aquatic plant species that can be found in various bodies of water. In this article, we will explore the key facts about this plant, including its appearance, habitat, and growth habits.

Appearance: Spiked water-milfoil is a perennial plant with long stems that can reach up to three meters in length. The leaves are finely dissected and arranged in whorls around the stem, giving the plant a unique feathery appearance. One distinguishing characteristic of this species is its spiked inflorescence, which consists of small flowers densely packed along the stem.

Habitat: Spiked water-milfoil is a highly adaptable plant that can thrive in a wide range of aquatic habitats. It can be found in both freshwater and brackish water environments, including lakes, ponds, rivers, and estuaries. This species prefers areas with slow-moving or stagnant water, as it requires ample sunlight for photosynthesis.

Growth Habits: Spiked water-milfoil is a fast-growing plant that can rapidly colonize water bodies. It reproduces both sexually, through the production of seeds, and vegetatively, through the formation of fragmented stems. These fragmented stems can take root and establish new plants, enabling the species to spread quickly. The plant can form dense mats on the water surface, which can hinder the growth of other aquatic plants and impact the overall ecosystem.

In this guide, we will also provide valuable tips on how to care for spiked water-milfoil, including methods for its control and management. Whether you are a pond owner, a naturalist, or simply interested in learning more about aquatic plants, this article will equip you with the knowledge you need to understand and appreciate this unique species.

So, let’s dive in and discover the fascinating world of spiked water-milfoil!

Spiked Water-Milfoil Facts & Care Guide (Myriophyllum spicatum) – Everything You Need to Know

Spiked Water-Milfoil Facts & Care Guide (Myriophyllum spicatum) - Everything You Need to Know

Spiked water-milfoil, scientifically known as Myriophyllum spicatum, is a submerged aquatic plant that belongs to the Haloragaceae family. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but has also been introduced to many other parts of the world. This plant is known for its distinctive spiked appearance, with its leaves arranged in whorls along the stems.

Here are some key facts about spiked water-milfoil:

  • Identification: Spiked water-milfoil has long, slender stems that can reach lengths up to 3 meters. The leaves are finely divided and arranged in whorls of 4-6 around the stem. The spikes of flowers, which are often green or reddish, emerge above the water surface.
  • Growth Habitat: This plant is commonly found in freshwater bodies such as lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers. It prefers areas with calm or stagnant water and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions.
  • Ecological Impact: Spiked water-milfoil can have both positive and negative impacts on ecosystems. It provides habitat and food for many aquatic organisms, including fish and invertebrates. However, it can also form dense mats that restrict water flow, hinder recreational activities, and outcompete native plant species.
  • Control and Management: To control the growth of spiked water-milfoil, various methods can be used, including mechanical removal, herbicide application, and biological control through the introduction of specialized herbivorous insects or fish species.
  • Care Requirements: If you want to grow spiked water-milfoil in a controlled environment like a pond or aquarium, there are a few care requirements to consider. It needs sufficient lighting, nutrient-rich water, and regular pruning to prevent overgrowth.
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In conclusion, spiked water-milfoil is an interesting aquatic plant with unique characteristics. Whether you encounter it in its natural habitat or decide to cultivate it, understanding its facts and care requirements is essential for its successful management and conservation.

Characteristics of Spiked Water-Milfoil

Characteristics of Spiked Water-Milfoil

Spiked Water-Milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) is an aquatic plant that belongs to the Haloragaceae family. It is often found in freshwater lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams. This submerged perennial herb has unique characteristics that make it easily identifiable:



The spiked water-milfoil has a long stem that can reach up to 10 feet in length. The stem is covered with feathery, dark green leaves that are arranged in whorls. The leaves are finely divided into many thread-like segments, giving them a delicate and feathery appearance.

The plant also produces unique spiked clusters of flowers that emerge above the water’s surface. These floral spikes are dense and slender, resembling a spike or a finger.



Spiked water-milfoil is a fast-growing species that can quickly colonize large areas. It spreads through vegetative reproduction, with new plants growing from fragments of the parent plant. This rapid growth can lead to the formation of dense mats of vegetation, potentially affecting water flow and aquatic ecosystems.

Additionally, spiked water-milfoil has the ability to overwinter under the ice, allowing it to survive and continue its growth in the following seasons.



This aquatic plant is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, but it has been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America. It thrives in a wide range of aquatic environments, from clear waters to those with high nutrient concentrations.

Spiked water-milfoil is often found in shallow water, but it can grow at depths of up to 20 feet. It prefers slow-moving or stagnant water bodies, where it can take root and spread efficiently.

Overall, the characteristics of spiked water-milfoil make it an interesting and important species to study and understand, as it can have both positive and negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems.

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Habitat and Distribution of Spiked Water-Milfoil

Habitat and Distribution of Spiked Water-Milfoil

Spiked Water-Milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) is an aquatic plant that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It can also be found in parts of North America where it is considered an invasive species. The plant thrives in freshwater environments, specifically in slow-moving or stagnant bodies of water such as lakes, ponds, and slow-flowing rivers.

In terms of its distribution, Spiked Water-Milfoil is found in a wide range of countries around the world. In Europe, it can be found in countries such as Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. In Asia, it is present in China, Japan, and Korea, among others. In North Africa, it can be found in countries like Egypt and Morocco.

In North America, Spiked Water-Milfoil has spread to various regions including the United States and Canada. It has been reported in states such as California, Florida, Michigan, and New York, as well as in provinces like Ontario and Quebec.

Preferred Growing Conditions

Preferred Growing Conditions

Spiked Water-Milfoil typically grows in water that is between 1 and 10 feet deep. It prefers areas with soft sediment or muddy bottoms. The plant can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures, but it prefers warmer conditions. It also requires full sunlight for optimal growth, although it can still survive in partially shaded areas.

Invasive Characteristics

Invasive Characteristics

Characteristic Description
Fast Growth Spiked Water-Milfoil can grow rapidly and form dense mats on the water surface, which can impede boating, swimming, and other recreational activities.
High Reproduction Rate The plant can reproduce through fragmentation, where broken stem fragments develop into new plants. This contributes to its ability to quickly establish and spread in new locations.
Competition with Native Species Spiked Water-Milfoil can outcompete native aquatic plants for resources, potentially altering the ecological balance of the water body and reducing biodiversity.
Alteration of Habitat The dense mats formed by Spiked Water-Milfoil can alter the physical structure of the water body, reducing water flow and oxygen levels, and affecting the habitat of other organisms.

Benefits and Uses of Spiked Water-Milfoil

Benefits and Uses of Spiked Water-Milfoil

Spiked Water-Milfoil, also known as Myriophyllum spicatum, is a versatile aquatic plant that offers numerous benefits and uses. Here are some of them:

  • Water Purification: Spiked Water-Milfoil plays a crucial role in improving water quality by filtering and removing pollutants. Its dense foliage helps to absorb excess nutrients in the water, reducing the risk of algal blooms and promoting a healthier aquatic environment.
  • Habitat Enhancement: This plant provides important habitat for various aquatic organisms. Its submerged foliage offers shelter for fish, invertebrates, and amphibians, while its stems and leaves serve as nursery areas for young aquatic animals.
  • Erosion Control: Spiked Water-Milfoil’s extensive root system helps to stabilize shorelines and prevent soil erosion. By creating a network of interconnected roots, it helps to maintain the structural integrity of banks and protect them from the erosive force of water.
  • Aesthetics: With its delicate, feathery leaves and vibrant green color, Spiked Water-Milfoil adds beauty and aesthetic value to ponds, lakes, and other water bodies. Its graceful growth pattern and ability to form dense stands make it an attractive addition to aquatic landscapes.
  • Wildlife Attraction: The presence of Spiked Water-Milfoil can attract a wide range of wildlife, including birds, insects, and small mammals. These organisms rely on the plant for food, shelter, and breeding grounds, enhancing the overall biodiversity of the ecosystem.
  • Research and Education: Spiked Water-Milfoil is commonly studied by researchers and scientists due to its unique biology and ecological significance. It serves as a model organism for various ecological and aquatic studies, contributing to our understanding of ecosystem dynamics and functioning.
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These are just a few examples of the benefits and uses of Spiked Water-Milfoil. Whether it’s improving water quality, providing habitat, or adding beauty to aquatic environments, this plant plays a vital role in the health and functioning of aquatic ecosystems.


What are the key facts about spiked water-milfoil?

Spiked water-milfoil, also known as Myriophyllum spicatum, is an aquatic plant that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It has feathery underwater leaves and spike-like flower clusters that emerge above the waterline. It can grow in a variety of water conditions and is considered an invasive species in many areas.

How does spiked water-milfoil affect aquatic ecosystems?

Spiked water-milfoil can have both positive and negative effects on aquatic ecosystems. On one hand, it provides habitat and food for many aquatic organisms. On the other hand, it can outcompete native plant species, reduce water flow, and disrupt the balance of a ecosystem. Invasive milfoil can also make swimming and boating difficult in infested areas.

How can I control spiked water-milfoil in my pond?

There are several methods to control spiked water-milfoil in a pond. Mechanical removal, such as raking or cutting, can be effective for small infestations. Chemical methods, such as herbicides, can also be used but should be applied by a professional to avoid harming other plants and animals. Biological control, such as introducing milfoil weevils or grass carp, is another option to consider.

Can I grow spiked water-milfoil in my garden pond?

While spiked water-milfoil can be grown in garden ponds, it is important to consider its invasive nature and potential to spread to natural water bodies. If you still want to grow it, consider using a container or barrier to prevent its spread. Regular monitoring and control methods should also be implemented to prevent it from becoming a problem.

Are there any other species of water-milfoil?

Yes, there are several other species of water-milfoil, including Eurasian water-milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), parrotfeather (Myriophyllum aquaticum), and northern water-milfoil (Myriophyllum sibiricum). Each species has its own unique characteristics and care requirements. It is important to properly identify the species you are dealing with to implement the appropriate control measures.

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I found this article on spiked water-milfoil quite informative. As a nature enthusiast, I always appreciate learning about different plant species. The article provided a comprehensive overview of the spiked water-milfoil, covering everything from its scientific name to its unique characteristics. I enjoyed reading about the plant’s habitat preferences and learned that it can be quite invasive if not properly controlled. The care guide section was especially helpful, as it provided practical tips on how to cultivate and maintain spiked water-milfoil in home aquariums or ponds. Overall, this article has increased my knowledge about this particular plant and left me wanting to explore more about it.


I’ve always been fascinated by aquarium plants, and the Spiked Water-Milfoil is no exception. This care guide provided me with all the information I needed to know about this beautiful plant, from its scientific name Myriophyllum spicatum to its water temperature requirements. I appreciated how the article explained about its growth pattern and propagation methods, which is helpful for someone like me who wants to include this plant in my aquarium setup. The fact that it can help improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients is a bonus. Overall, this guide has given me the confidence and knowledge to successfully care for Spiked Water-Milfoil in my aquarium.

Jacob Smith

I found this article extremely helpful and informative. As a female gardener, I have always been fascinated by aquatic plants and the Spiked Water-Milfoil is no exception. The article provided a comprehensive overview of everything I need to know about this plant, from its physical characteristics to its care requirements. I particularly appreciated the tips on how to propagate and control its growth in my garden pond. I also found the information on the benefits of Spiked Water-Milfoil to be intriguing. Learning that it can improve water quality and provide a natural habitat for wildlife only reinforced my desire to incorporate this plant into my garden. The article’s emphasis on the importance of proper maintenance and monitoring to prevent its invasive behavior was also a great reminder. The inclusion of clear and visually appealing images throughout the article was a nice touch. It allowed me to easily identify the plant and visualize its growth pattern. Additionally, the step-by-step care guide was incredibly useful and made it easy for me to understand how to properly care for this aquatic plant. Overall, I found this article to be an excellent resource for anyone interested in growing and maintaining Spiked Water-Milfoil. Its comprehensive information, practical tips, and beautiful visuals made it an enjoyable read. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to add this stunning plant to their aquatic garden.

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Ethan Brown

I found this article about Spiked Water-Milfoil very informative and helpful. As a female reader, I appreciate how it covers everything I need to know about caring for this plant. The article explains that Spiked Water-Milfoil, also known as Myriophyllum spicatum, is an aquatic plant with feathery leaves that can provide shade and habitat for fish in ponds or lakes. It goes into detail about the plant’s growth habits and how to properly care for it, including water temperature and pH requirements. I also found the tips on controlling its growth and preventing it from becoming invasive very useful. Overall, it’s a great guide for anyone looking to incorporate Spiked Water-Milfoil into their aquatic environment.


I found this article on spiked water-milfoil quite informative and useful. As a nature enthusiast, I have always been intrigued by aquatic plants. The article provides a comprehensive guide on spiked water-milfoil, covering its facts and care requirements. The fact that it is an invasive species caught my attention, highlighting the importance of effective management to prevent its spread. I appreciated the detailed descriptions and illustrations of the plant’s physical features, which helped me identify it in the wild. The tips on care and maintenance were also helpful, especially the advice on controlling its growth in home aquariums. Overall, this article is a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about spiked water-milfoil and how to properly care for it.

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