Myriophyllum cf. aquaticum 'Red Stem'

Aquarium suitability: yes
Usage: Background, Midground
Difficulty: easy
Growth: very fast
Availability [?]: 
  • frequently available commercially

Habit, plant type:

  • stem
Major group (unranked): Seed plants: Flowering plants (Angiosperms)
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Haloragaceae
Genus: Myriophyllum


This milfoil is often sold in Germany as pond plant, and most frequently under the name "Myriophyllum brasiliensis" (with M. brasiliense being a synonym of M. aquaticum). In the English-speaking world, it is called Myriophyllum aquaticum 'Red Stem' and "red-stemmed parrot's feather", amongst others. Although it is often sold as pond plant, it is hardly known as aquarium plant.

When kept under the same conditions, this milfoil clearly differs from "standard" Myriophyllum aquaticum. Just like it, the emersed form of red-stemmed parrot's feather has blueish-green strongly water-repellent but stays overall smaller. The leaves have less pinna and often the plant has distinctly reddish-brown stems. The emersed form gets about as large as emersed M. aquaticum 'Santa Catarina', which has green stems.
The submersed form shows even clearer differences with standard M. aquaticum. Then red-stemmed parrot's feather resembles Myriophyllum pinnatum, but has a looser foliage. The leaves are often reddish and have less pinna that protrude more than standard M. aquaticum. The stem assumes a dark red colour even under moderate light.
The stems of the standard form of M. aquaticum, however, are usually green, the leaves often orange-brown.

Its blueish-green, water-repellent emersed leaves probably are a sign that this plant may belong to M. aquaticum or that it is at least closely related. That's why we chose the name M. cf. aquaticum 'Red Stem' in this database. The species can only safely be identified on the flowers of the emersed form. The origins of this milfoil are unclear, it might come from South America, just like M. aquaticum.

Myriophyllum cf. aquaticum 'Red Stem' can be cultivated in aquaria as easily as standard M. aquaticum and has more or less the same requirements. Under favourable conditions, it is a very fast grower and needs to be trimmed frequently. It looks best under intensive light. Under low light, the internodes tend to get quite long.

As a pond plant, red-stemmed parrot's feather is probably hardy to a certain degree. It is beautiful when kept emersed or semi-emersed in containers. Those shoots growing over the container rim overhang like those of ahanging basket plant. Its smallness makes this milfoild better-suited for smaller containers than the standard form of M. aquaticum. The dark red stem contrasts nicely against the light blue-green emersed leaves.

References and further reading:
  1. follows
Light medium to high 
Temperature tolerance 4 to 28 °C
Optimum temperature 15 to 25 °C
Carbonate hardness 2 to 14 °dKH
pH value 5 to 7.5 
Carbon dioxide (CO2) 15 to 40 mg/l
Nitrate (NO3-) 10 to 50 mg/l
Phosphate (PO43-) 0.1 to 3 mg/l
Potassium (K+) 5 to 30 mg/l
Iron (Fe) 0.01 to 0.5 mg/l

Growth: very fast

Propagation: Cuttings

Can grow emersed?: yes

Suited for outdoor cultivation / ponds: yes

Winter hardiness: unknown

There is no detailled information for cultivating this plant yet.
Aquascaping: fine-leaved

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Wasserpflanzen sind ein fester Bestandteil der meisten Aquarien. Beim Aquascaping, dem Naturaquarium, Biotop-Aquarium oder dem Gesellschaftsaquarium sind Wasserpflanzen nicht nur für die Wasserqualität entscheidend, sondern sorgen auch stets für eine optische Aufwertung des Aquariums.