Myriophyllum verticillatum

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaHaloragaceaeMyriophyllumMyriophyllum verticillatum


M. verticillatum is a robust, perennial plant of clear or slightly turbid, still or slowly flowing calcareous water in lakes, streams, canals and ditches. It occurs over both peaty and inorganic substrates. It flowers and sets seed, and also perennates by specialised turions which are produced in the leaf axils. Lowland.



World Distribution

Circumpolar Temperate element.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 12

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 7


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.8

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.7

Annual Precipitation (mm): 765

Length: 300

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Perennial hydrophyte (perennial water plant)



Clonality - primary

Irregularly fragmenting (mainly water plants)

Clonality - secondary

Detaching ramets above ground (often axillary)

Comment on Clonality

Turions in leaf axils

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 360

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 130

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.89

Distribution information

JNCC Designations


Scarce Atlas Account

Scarce Atlas Account: 

Myriophyllum verticillatum L.

Whorled water-milfoil

Status: scarce


A submerged aquatic perennial with emergent flowering spikes, M. verticillatum occurs in ponds, ditches and lakes with base-rich water. It is a characteristic component of a still-water community rich in water-lilies and pondweeds. M. verticillatum is moderately tolerant of shade (i.e. turbid water) and occurs in water moderately rich in nutrients. It grows in grazing marshes with M. spicatum, but usually in more lime-rich water than its relative, and is strictly lowland in its distribution. 

It is a creeping perennial rooted in the mud. Reproduction is mainly by vegetative means, with broken fragments rooting and by club-shaped turions produced in late summer and autumn.

M. verticillatum has been noted as declining throughout England and Wales, due to poorer water quality and habitat destruction. Open-water habitat has often been either over-deepened and canalised or colonised by tall emergents as the ditch has become redundant.

It is very widespread in Europe, absent only from a few peripheral islands. M. verticillatum is distributed throughout temperate Asia and North Africa, as well as both North and South America.


J. O. Mountford

PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (149d)
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.
Preston CD, Croft JM
1997.  Aquatic plants in Britain and Ireland.
Stewart A, Pearman DA, Preston CD
1994.  Scarce plants in Britain.