Myriophyllum tenellum

Slender Water Milfoil

Slender Water Milfoil, Photo courtesy Wisconsin State Herbarium and Robert W. Freckmann
Slender Water Milfoil
Photo courtesy Wisconsin State Herbarium and Robert W. Freckmann

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The natural history of the northwoods


Name:

  • Myriophyllum, from the Greek, murios (myrios), "countless, infinite", and fullon (phyllon), "leaf; foliage"; hence "many leaved"
  • tenellum, from the Latin, tenellus, "tender"
  • Common name from the slender, leafless stems - such a contrast with the other other, leafy milfoils.
  • Other common names include: Leafless Water Milfoil

Taxonomy:

    • Kingdom Plantae, the Plants
    • Division Magnoliophyta, the Angiosperms (flowering plants)
      • Class Magnoliopsida, the Dicotyledons
      • Subclass Rosidae
        • Order Haloragales
          • Family Haloragaceae, the Water Milfoils
            • Genus Myriophyllum, the Water Milfoils
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 503907

Description:

  • Leaves absent, or reduced to the occasional scale
  • Stem slender, upright, and largely unbranched; 4"-12"
  • Roots white, unbranched, and thread-like. Not always present.
  • Flowers on ¾"-2" spikes raised above the water's surface; floral bracts mostly alternate, oblong to obovate in form, similar in size to the flowers.
    • Sepals
    • Petals
    • Stamens
    • Pistil of 4 chambers
    • Ovary superior (within blossom)
  • Fruit nut-like, 4-lobed with one seed per lobe; segments rounded on back and at base, 1mm long

Identification:

  • A submerged, leafless aquatic plant
  • Distinguished from other native milfoils by the lack of leaves, so prominent in the other species.

Distribution:

  • Newfoundland and Quebec to Minnesota, south to New Jersey.

Habitat:

  • Acid lakes, often forming large colonies in deep water.

Associates:

History:

Uses:

Reproduction:

  • Sexually by seed (uncommon)
  • Assexually by budding (most common)

Propagation:

  • By division

Cultivation:

  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (average minimum annual temperature -40ºF)
  • Useful as oxygenator in garden ponds, and as shelter for small fishes and aquatic invertebrates.

Links:

Comments:

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Last updated on 26 February, 2004