Aponogeton distachyus

Cape pond weed

Family: Aponogetonaceae

Origin: South Africa

Close up of a cape pond weed flower in the water.
It is a bottom rooted perennial aquatic plant that grows in water with floating oval dark green leaves.
Photo credit: Antonie van den Bos, www.botanypictures.com

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Aotea — Eradication
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Bottom-rooted aquatic perennial. Rootstock is tuberous. Leaves are floating, linear and < 25 cm long. Flowers are white and borne on emergent spike above the water’s surface. Fruit is c. 1 cm long.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell Cape pond weed on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group.
  • You must not plant Cape pond weed on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group.

Auckland Council will control Cape pond weed at all sites within the Aotea/Great Barrier Island group where it is known to occur.

If you see Cape pond weed anywhere on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group, please report it to Auckland Council at pestfree@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.


Still or flowing water bodies < 1.2 m deep.


Seeds dispersed by water.

Impact on environment

Potentially competes with native freshwater vegetation. Stems may entangle recreational equipment.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year.

Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group. Please report to Auckland Council if seen on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group.

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray emergent foliage with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Close up of cape pond weed flowers.
It shades out native submerged vegetation.
Photo credit: Vince Scheidt, Digital Flora of Texas
The white flowers of the cape pond weed.
Cape pond weed has fragrant flowers with white petals that extend above the water surface.
Floating cape pond weed leaves.
Leaf blades are narrow oval, with parallel veins.
Cape pond weed submerged in grimy water.
The flowers are on an erect spike and held above the water surface.
Photo credit: Antonie van den Bos, www.botanypictures.com
Cape pond weed scattered on the surface of still water with broad leaves and white flowers peeking through.
It can form thick mats on the water surface which can block waterways.
Photo credit: Antonie van den Bos, www.botanypictures.com