Invasive SpeciesVariable watermilfoil

Myriophyllum heterophyllum
FOUND by rchawley
ID Confirmed
Quality checked by manyeyes
Peer reviewed by
Field Notes
My wonderful cohort Jeffrey aka "Kansas" (because he is from Kansas) set out today, Wednesday the 20th of 2012, for the Sebago Lake region with a burning desire to find Variable Watermilfoil and record our findings! We assumed that it would be easy to find this species, given that variable milfoil has been recorded in this lake for quite some time. However, we spent a good amount of time fishing for milfoil with our Weed Weasel, that smo gave us so kindly, to no avail. We first tried the Sebago Lake boat launch, then the Sebago lake beach, (where everyone was enjoying the 80+ F degree weather and Kansas and I were jealous) and then finally we decided to go try to locate some milfoil at the Songo Locks. It was there that we found success! After finding no milfoil with our Weed Weasel there, we got quite frustrated. So Kansas and I went and stood on the bridge that crossed one over to the locks. It was then! Over there! Can you see it Kansas??? I saw a nasty looking raccoon tail clinging to the shoreline. There it was. That nasty, NASTY invasive milfoil. Sure enough, after slipping on my thigh-high waders (a very good look I might add) and gathering the weed from the river and comparing it to the lovely species identification card we had brought with us... I became confident enough to say, "we may not be in Kansas anymore, Kansas, but I think we found it!"
Supporting Evidence
Photo of my evidence.
This plant looked like a raccoon tail in the water, just like what the species card said it should look like. It also had a thick red stem. We hope this is right!
Photo of my evidence.
The individual leaves on this water invader were feathered, which is an identifying characteristic of variable watermilfoil.
Photo of my evidence.
The leaves occurred in the whorled pattern! This is also characteristic of variable milfoil.
Species Observation: Species Looked For
Did you find it?: 
I think I found it
Scientific name:
Myriophyllum heterophyllum
Common name:
Variable watermilfoil
Sampling method: 
Just looking around
Weed weasel
Photo of our sampling method.
Place Studied
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Map this species
N 43.932254 °
W -70.577374 °
Observation Site Information
A photo of our study site.
Freshwater - In a stream or river
Trip Information
Songo Locks
Trip date: 
Wed, 2012-06-20 11:30
Town or city: 
Type of investigation: 
Species Survey
Sebago Lake
MIDAS Code: 


Given the location and the excellent pictures you took I'd say you certainly did find the invasive variable-leaf water milfoil.
I'm a bit surprised you didn't find it at the State Park boat launch but that's actually good since it won't have a chance to hitchhike out of the Songo River on a boat or trailer.

We did actually find a little bit at the boat launch. It was not that much though - only part of one plant (and it was pretty much dead). We did toss the weed weasel into the boat launch area a few more times, and we still came up with nothing. So, then we moved on and decided to only return to the boat launch if all other places failed so then we could get some footage there for the video. But, then we ended up finding the Milfoil at Songo Locks (and a lot more of it than we found at the launch!), so we just stayed there and did not head back to the boat launch.

Thanks for helping us and check out the video of our adventure in the blog (

- Jeffrey "Kansas"

Invasive milfoil and Japanese knotweed together in one photo! Did you plan that? I'm glad every shoreline knotweed occurrence doesn't have an invasive milfoil pal like this one.

I hope Mainers follow your (and Kansas') lead this summer and do tireless hunts for invasive variable watermilfoil and Eurasian watermilfoil.

Looking forward to hearing about your next adventure!