The flowering bract of our invasive variable milfoil in Lake Arrowhead is not often seen. This year however, appears to be a bumper year for it and the flowers that wash up are actually arranged in quite a lovely spire. Those green "leaves" are bracts that act as a base for the teeny flowers to sit in around the stem. The real leaves are feather-like and thin.
I've got to give my enemy credit - it's tenacious, resilient, super-adaptive and versatile, with some good-looking parts too. Kudos, variable milfoil, you are a very successful plant - ... but just look - this is the floating mass of sheared off plants we retrieved in the small area of our beach after a weekend of boating! It's about 90% milfoil.