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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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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. villosum (Nutt.) Engelm.

OAK MISTLETOE


Stem ± 1 m, ± erect, gray-green, generally densely short-hairy when young, ± glabrous in age; internodes 15–38 mm
Leaf 15–47 mm, 10–25 mm wide, obovate-elliptic, ± petioled or not, very densely short-hairy
Staminate inflorescence: fertile internodes 2–4, generally 25–30-flowered
Pistillate inflorescence: fertile internodes 2(–3), generally 10–15-flowered
Fruit ± 3–4 mm, pinkish white, short-hairy near tip
Chromosomes: n=14
Ecology: Oak woodlands, on generally Quercus , less often other associated woody dicots (e.g. Adenostoma, Arctostaphylos, Rhus, Umbellularia )
Elevation: 60–2100 m.
Bioregional distribution: Klamath Ranges, North Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada Foothills, Sacramento Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, South Coast Ranges, South Coast, Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges, Desert Mountains (Little San Bernardino Mtns)
Distribution outside California: to n Oregon, Texas, Mexico
Flowering time: Jul–Sep
Synonyms: P. flavescens var. v. (Nutt.) Engelm

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