The clearing of parrot’s feather for the Internal Drainage Board in waterways at Wade March, in Thanet has been carried out by the Canterbury Volunteers this autumn.
Parrot’s Feather, an aquatic perennial native to Central and South America, has escaped from garden ponds into our waterways.
It grows in emergent and submerged form and displaces our native flora, thriving in still or slowly flowing water. New plants grow readily from fragments of already rooted plants and nutrient rich waters exacerbate its ability to spread rapidly.
Parrots Feather is a problem as it can seriously change the physical and chemical characteristics of lakes and streams. It grows abundantly, shades out naturally occurring algae, and clogs irrigation ducts and canals, thereby increasing the risk of flooding by blocking watercourses and drainage channels.
Parrots feather typically exist in bundles that extend out of the water. In large amounts, the plants make a dense mat on the water’s surface, shading the water from sunlight and causing native plants to die due to light deficiency. By displacing native species and dominating a water body, it causes organisms that feed on the native plants to die off.