bald mistletoe




pronounced: law-an-THAY-see-eye

the mistletoe family


Loranthaceae is derived from the Greek λωρος (loros), a strap or thong, and ανθος (anthos), a flower, referring to the shape of the perianth parts. The plants may range in size from small herbs to trees up to 10 m. The smaller ones are usually woody parasites on tree branches, while the larger ones are usually root parasites. The leaves have entire margins, are usually evergreen, sometimes fleshy, and opposite. The green leaves contain some chlorophyll, and so the plants can manufacture some food, but all members are parasitic to some extent and connect by haustoria to their hosts to obtain water and nutrients. Most species have bisexual flowers, the calyx fused, often a low rim. The corollas are usually colourful, often red and yellow, and the fruits are generally one-seeded berries. These are eaten by birds, who disperse the seeds.


Photograph © Donald Simpson 2009