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Myriophyllum heterophyllum - Variable watermilfoil

French name:  Myriophylle hétérophylle
Dutch name: Ongelijkbladig vederkruid
Family: Haloragaceae
Group: Vascular plants
Origin: North America
Habitat: freshwater
Introduction:  aquariums and ponds
ISEIA Score : 12
Naturalization in Belgium
First observation in the wild: 1993
Invasion stage: spread
Spatial distribution: isolated
Reproduction in the wild: yes
Dispersion potential: high
Natural habitats: high
More on invasiveness: M. heterophyllum grows in well-lit ponds, ditches, canals and slow-running streams. It is found growing under a wide range of chemical conditions, but tends to prefer acidic waters.
Distribution in Belgium
Established populations
absent from district
isolated populations (1-5 localities per district)
widespread (>5 localities per district)
Endangered areas
low risk
medium risk
high risk

Endangered Natura 2000 habitats ():
freshwater habitats: 313031503260
Impacts on Species
Predation / Herbivory: low
Competition: high
Disease transmission: low
Genetic effects: unlikely
Impacts on Ecosystems
Nutrient cycling: likely
Physical alteration: high
Natural successions: likely
Food web alteration: low
More on impacts: Variable watermilfoil is able produce very dense populations and high biomass. It is highly competitive and may lead to the exclusion of other submerged water plants. The dense mats it produces reduce sunlight and can restrict water movement; when decomposing, they alter water quality and reduce available oxygen. The low oxygen conditions can kill fish and harm other aquatic organisms. The plant can also cause boating and swimming hazards.
Data Source & References
Authors: Baus Erika, Branquart Etienne, Stiers Iris, Triest Ludwig, Vanderhoeven Sonia, Van Landuyt Wouter, Van Rossum Fabienne, Verloove Filip
Published on:  16 March 2009
Last update:  11 December 2013
De Beer, D. & De Vlaeminck, R. (2008)
Myriophyllum heterophyllum, een nieuwe invasive waterplant
Dumortiera 94: 8-13.
Halstead, J.M., Michaud, J., Hallas-Burt, S. & Gibbs, J.P. (2003)
Hedonic analysis of effects of a nonnative invader (Myriophyllum heterophyllum) on New Hampshire lakefront properties.
Environmental management 32: 391-398.
Hussner, A. (2008)
Okologische und ökophysiologische Charakteristika aquatischer Neophyten in Nordrhein-Westfalen.
PhD dissertation, University of Düsseldorf
Hussner, A. (2009)
Invasive alien species fact sheet Myriophyllum heterophyllum.
From online database on aquatic neophytes in Germany.
Hussner, A. & Krause, T. (2009)
Biology of the alien aquatic plant Myriophyllum heterophyllum Michaux in urban city lakes of Düsseldorf (in German).
Acta Biologica Benrodis (in press).
Luijten, S. & Odé, B. (2007)
Status en het voorkomen van een aantal belangrijke invasieve plantensoorten in Nederland.
Floron rapport 47.
NatureServe (2009)
Myriophyllum heterophyllum.
From NatureServe Explorer, an online encyclopedia of Life.
Onion, A. (2004)
Herbivore resistance in invasive and native Myriophyllum spicatum and Myriophyllum heterophyllum.
PhD thesis presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Cornell University.
Pot, R. (2007)
Over de aanpak van de woekering van ongelijgbladig vederkruid en waterwaaier in het Oranjekanaal.
Thum, R.A. & Lennon, J.T. (2006)
Is hybridization responsible for invasive growth of non-indigenous water-milfoils?
Biological Invasions 84: 1061-1066.
Thum, R.A. & Lennon, J.T. (2009)
Comparative ecological niche models predictive the invasive spread of variable-leaf milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum) and its potential impact on closely related native species.
Biological Invasions (in press).
Verloove, F. (2006)
Catalogue of the Neophytes in Belgium (1800-2005).
Scripta Botanica Belgica 39, 89 pp.

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