Viscaceae2017-08-17T19:17:08+00:00

Viscaceae: Mistletoe Family

Pacific / Oak Mistletoe – Phoradendron leucarpum subsp. tomentosum

Blooms:

July–Sept

Plant Height:

Stems < 80 cm

Flower Size:

Very small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Parasitic on oaks and other plants

Notes:

Unlike Pine Mistletoe (Arceuthobium littorum), this is only partially parasitic, both deriving water and nutrients from its host plant and also able to photosynthesize through its greenish leaves. Leaves are elliptic to roundish, 15–30 mm long. Its flowers are in short cylindrical yellow spikes. Despite its common name, this is found on a variety of plants as well as oaks including California Bay Laurel (Umbelllaria californica), Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum)and manzanitas (Arctostaphylos sp.).

Pine / Dwarf Mistletoe – Arceuthobium littorum

Blooms:

July–Nov

Plant Height:

Stems 10–20 cm

Flower Size:

Very small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Coastal, parasitic on pines

Notes:

Unlike Pacific / Oak Mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum), this is wholly parasitic, using specially modified roots called haustoria to draw water and nutrients from its host plant. It is found only on pines. Although Jepson combines this species with two others under Arceuthobium campylodum, more recent literature  suggests that differences in form and host plants justify keeping the three species separate. This species is found only near the coast and is parasitic only on Monterey and Bishop Pines (Pinus radiata & muricata).