Mistletoe

Viscum spp.

Christmas Mistletoe

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Genus with approximately 74 evergreen, woody shrub species that are obligate hemiparasites. These are plants that rely on other living plants to survive, gleaning nutrition parasitically. They cannot complete their life cycle without a host plant, these are most commonly apple, poplar and lime trees. These are usually woody trees or shrubs, they are often hindered by the presence of parasitic mistletoe on their branches and affected branches will grow slower as the hosts resources are being diluted and syphoned off to the parasitic plant. Thus in large specimens mistletoe is not usually detrimental, however in younger specimens, many parasitic growths can be harmful. They can reduce fruit crops, cause water stress in summer and increase wind chill in winter, possibly leading to host death. Foliage is arranged in opposite pairs or whorls and branches into multiples of 2. These leaves are leathery and strap-shaped. Flowers are non-showy, green-yellow and small, measuring around 1-3mm. Leading onto ornamental white, yellow, orange or red berries with sticky seeds. These are dispersed when birds consume the fruit, which is toxic to humans. Birds tend to get these seeds stuck to their beaks, which they wipe on tree branches to remove. Alternatively, they will consume the berries and regurgitate or defecate the seeds on host tree branches.

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Personality

Family

Santalaceae

Flower colour

Yellow

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