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Myriophyllum spicatum is the most common European watermilfoil species. It is winter-hardy in Germany; the plant remains green under water during winter. However this submerged plant is also distributed to southern Africa and wide parts of Asia. It grows in lakes and rivers, especially when they are nutrient-rich (eutrophic) and calcareous. In the nature, the stems get to 1-4 m long. The spike-like inflorescences poke out of the water during summer.
The Spiky Watermilfoil has reddish to dark red stems and deep green, finely pinnate leaves in whorls of four. The internodes are quite long, a typical feature of this species.
This native milfoil species is commonly said to be unsuitable for tropical tanks, however, after our experience it grows also well in more than 20 °C warm water, strong lighting and good nutrient and CO2 supply provided. In hard water with low CO2 level the leaves are often covered with lime deposits due to biogenic decalcification. With its very fast growth, frequent trimming is necessary. It is easily propagated by cuttings of its many branches.
Although not well known in aquaristics, Myriophyllum spicatum makes an ideal stem plant for well-lit cold water tanks that is also suitable for tropical aquariums up to about 25 °C. With its red stems and intensely green, feather-like leaves, it is attractive especially as a dense stand in the background to midground of tall tanks.
Please be aware that the submerse form of this plant could contain snails or other invertebrates.