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Mistletoe

Mistletoe

Other Names

Witches Brooms

Mistletoe Plants

Mistletoe plants are hemi-parasitic plants. They live on a host tree and use the host as a food source, but also use photosynthesis from their own leaves. Mistletoe plants include five separate families of hundreds of species: Eremolepidaceae, Loranthaceae, Misodendraceae, Santalaceae and Viscaceae. Subtropical and tropical climates have more Mistletoe species.

Grow Mistletoe

Mistletoe grows from birds eating the berries and passing the seeds along in their droppings. The seeds are coated with a sticky material called viscin, which hardens and attaches the seed firmly to its future host. As the mistletoe plants mature, they grow into masses of branching stems.

Mistletoe Uses

For a long time Mistletoe was often considered a pest that kills trees. Many wild animals actually depend on mistletoe for food, consuming the leaves and young shoots. Areas with greater mistletoe densities can support higher diversities of animals. Mistletoe is used for roosting and nesting by the northern spotted owl and the marbled murrelet. Mistletoe can have a positive effect on biodiversity, providing high quality food and habitat. Mistletoe is commonly used in Christmas decorations.

Mistletoe Facts

Mistletoe is the floral emblem of Oklahoma. A study of mistletoe in junipers concluded that more juniper berries sprout in stands where mistletoe is present. The dense evergreen branches of Mistletoe are commonly called Witches' Brooms.

Mistletoe Farms

It may be possible to find any mistletoe farms near your location. We have built a map that will show all of the berry farms in our directory!

Mistletoe Stories

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Mistletoe is missing the machinery to make energy
To find out which parts of the assembly line machinery had vanished, researchers extracted proteins from mitochondria in the mistletoe's leaves and compared them to those in a small flowering weed of the mustard family called Arabidopsis thaliana ... Science Magazine [ story ]

Mistletoe has lost 'most of its respiratory capacity'
Most people know mistletoe (Viscum album) primarily as a plant to hang up and kiss under at the holidays. But in its natural environment, mistletoe is a hemiparasite (a parasitic plant that is capable of some photosynthesis), latching onto trees and ... Science Daily [ story ]


Photo - Joseph A. Marcus - Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - University of Texas - Austin, Texas
 
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