Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Viscum album

Higher Taxonomy
Family: ViscaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Perennial herb, shrub, generally +- green, parasitic on aboveground parts of woody plants; dioecious [monoecious]. Stem: brittle; 2° branches generally many. Leaf: simple, entire, opposite, 4-ranked, with blade or scale-like (then each pair generally fused). Inflorescence: spikes or cymes, axillary or terminal; bracts opposite, 4-ranked, scale-like, each pair fused. Flower: unisexual, radial, 2--4 mm; perianth parts in 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. Seed: 1(2), without thickened coat, gelatinous.
Genera In Family: 7 genera, +- 450 species: tropics, generally northern temperate. Toxicity: All parts of most members may be TOXIC. Note: Sometimes included in Loranthaceae; parasitic on plants in many other families.
eFlora Treatment Author: Job Kuijt
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: ViscumView Description 

Common Name: MISTLETOE
Habit: Shrub, glabrous, evergreen. Stem: generally < 20 cm, rounded, green, less often +- red; 2° branches opposite or whorled. Leaf: with blade. Inflorescence: few-flowered cyme, dense, subtended by pair of fused bracts; peduncle 0 or short. Flower: perianth parts generally 4. Staminate Flower: anthers several-chambered, cushion-like. Pistillate Flower: perianth parts generally deciduous. Fruit: 6--10 mm, spheric, white in California, bird-dispersed; pedicel short, +- straight, or 0.
Etymology: (Latin: from viscid seed cover)
eFlora Treatment Author: Job Kuijt
Reference: [Hawksworth & Scharpf 1987 Eur J Forest Pathol 16:1--5]
Viscum album L.
Stem: internodes +- 3--8 cm. Leaf: generally 5--8 cm, +- 1.5 cm wide, narrowly obovate, fleshy; petiole short to +- 0 or indistinct. Inflorescence: 3--5-flowered. Fruit: glabrous. Chromosomes: n=10.
Ecology: On Acer, Alnus, Betula, Crataegus, Malus, Populus, Robinia, Salix, Ulmus, other deciduous trees; Elevation: 60--100 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCoRO (Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Sonoma Co.); Distribution Outside California: native to Eurasia. Flowering Time: Feb--Mar Note: Introduced to California by Luther Burbank, +- 1900, sometimes sold locally in Christmas trade.
Jepson eFlora Author: Job Kuijt
Reference: [Hawksworth & Scharpf 1987 Eur J Forest Pathol 16:1--5]
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Noxious Weed listed on the CDFA Weed Pest Ratings table
View the CDFA Pest Rating page for Viscum album
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

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Citation for this treatment: Job Kuijt 2012, Viscum album, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 22, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 22, 2024.

No expert verified images found for Viscum album.

Geographic subdivisions for Viscum album:
NCoRO (Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Sonoma Co.)
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).