Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

 
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

VISCACEAE

MISTLETOE FAMILY

Frank G. Hawksworth and Delbert Wiens

Perennial, shrub, generally ± green, parasitic on aboveground parts of woody plants, dioecious or monoecious
Stem brittle; 2° branches generally many
Leaves simple, entire, opposite, 4-ranked, with blade or leaves scale-like (then each pair generally fused)
Inflorescence: spikes or open cymes, generally axillary, sometimes terminal; bracts opposite, 4-ranked, scale-like, each pair fused
Flower unisexual, radial, 2–4 mm; perianth parts in generally ± 1 series
Staminate flower: perianth parts 3–4(7); anthers generally ± sessile, opposite and generally on perianth parts
Pistillate flower: perianth parts generally 2–4; ovary inferior, 1-chambered, style unbranched, stigma ± obscure
Fruit: berry, shiny, gelatinous
Seeds 1(–2), without thickened coat
Genera in family: 7 genera, ± 450 species: tropical, generally n temp
Reference: [Kuijt 1982 J Arnold Arbor 63:401–410]
Sometimes included in Loranthaceae; parasitic on plants in many other families. Frs generally dispersed by birds or seeds explosively ejected. All parts of most members may be TOXIC.

PHORADENDRON

MISTLETOE

Shrub, woody at least at base, glabrous or hairy, dioecious in CA
Stem generally > 20 cm, rounded, green, less often reddish
Leaf with blade or leaf scale-like (then each pair fused)
Inflorescence: spikes, many-flowered, open or ± interrupted, short-peduncled; flowers sunken into axis
Flower: perianth parts generally 3
Staminate flower: anthers 2-chambered
Pistillate flower: perianth parts persistent
Fruit ± 3–6 mm, ± spheric, 1-colored, white, pink, or reddish, maturing (in temp) in 2 seasons, dispersed by consumption (by birds); pedicel 0
Species in genus: ± 200 species: temp, tropical Am
Etymology: (Greek: tree thief)
P. tomentosum (DC.) A. Gray collected in Texas for sale nationally in Christmas trade; other species similarly important locally
Reference: [Wiens 1974 Brittonia 16:11–54]

Native

P. pauciflorum Torr.

FIR MISTLETOE


Stem 3–6 dm, ± erect, green, glabrous; internodes 10–21 mm
Leaf generally 5–25 mm, 5–8 mm wide, generally oblanceolate, ± petioled
Staminate inflorescence: fertile internodes 1(2), 6–14-flowered
Pistillate inflorescence: fertile internode 1, 2-flowered
Fruit 4 mm, pinkish white to straw, glabrous
Chromosomes: n=14
Ecology: Ponderosa-pine forests, on Abies concolor
Elevation: 1400–2500 m.
Bioregional distribution: c&s Sierra Nevada, Transverse Ranges
Distribution outside California: to s Arizona, n Mexico
Flowering time: Jul–Aug
Synonyms: P. bolleanum var. p. (Torr.) Fosb.; P. b. subsp. p. (Torr.) Wiens

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