It may look like a typical pond plant but in reality Parrot’s Feather is an unwanted aquatic weed that has the capability to clog Marlborough’s waterways.
Parrot’s Feather, which is illegal to propagate, distribute or sell, has been found at two sites in Marlborough recently and the Marlborough District Council’s environmental scientist, Peter Hamill, would like to know if there is any more of the plant in the region. Parrot’s Feather has been listed as a nationally unwanted organism.
Peter is calling on people who have seen the plant in waterways on their properties or any other waterways in Marlborough to contact the council so it can be removed.
Of the recent finds, the first plants were discovered in the upper Gibsons Creek are upstream of Seresin Estate Ltd and the second group of plant were found in the backyard pond of a Blenheim property.
Parrot’s Feather has not been seen in Marlborough since 1990 when it was found in Fultons Creek.
The top of the leafy green plant protrudes above the water line but belies the tangled mass that dwells beneath the surface.
The plant will out-compete native water species and soon choke waterways, causing problems for drainage systems and destroying the habitat of native fish species.
It is very important that the plant be stopped from spreading any further, says Peter.
Waterways in the North Island are already congested with the weed as are some areas of the South Island’s West Coast.
Parrot’s Feather is of South American origin. It does not grow seeds and spread when plant fragments break off from the main plant.
“All it takes is for one fragment to break off. The plant has a very fast growth rate and so it spreads very easily,” says Peter. “We would just like anyone who has seen the plant to contact us so we can remove it so it does not spread further.”