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Parrot's Feather

South America

General description

Submerged, bottom-rooted, stoloniferous, sprawling aquatic herb. Leaves are finely divided, feathery, arranged in whorls of 4-6 and heterophyllous. Flowers are minute, female and produced in September – February.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell parrot's feather. As parrot’s feather is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant parrot's feather within the Auckland region.
  • You must destroy any parrot's feather on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.
If you see parrot's feather anywhere on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group, please report it to Auckland Council at

Still or slow-moving water bodies.

Vegetative spread from rhizome and stem fragments, dispersed by water movement. Human-mediated dispersal through contamination of machinery, boats and equipment.

Displaces native plant species, decreasing native plant species’ richness. Decreases invertebrate abundance and diversity in invaded water bodies.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group. Please report to Auckland Council if seen on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group.

Physical control

Method: Rake up and pull out between November and January

Disposal options: Leave onsite to rot down away from the water


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Follow up in summer after pulling out plants with a foliar spray of 100 ml glyphosate green per 10 L of water
Foliar spray emergent foliage with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water in October/November. Respray before foliage reaches 50mm high approximately every month

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Ceratophyllum demersum

Hornwort has forked leaves as opposed to the pinnate leaves of parrot's feather.

Eurasian water milfoil
Myriophyllum spicatum

Parrot's feather has less than 12 leaflet pairs per leaf in comparison to E. water milfoil which usually has greater than 12.

Myriophyllum robustum

Native milfoil is monoecious (males and females on the same plant), the exposed stems are usually pink coloured and the leaf tips which are acute rather than blunt ended.

RPMP status

Aotea (Exclusion)
National Pest Plant Accord Species
Whole region (Sustained Control)
Parrot's feather - Main species image