Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Mistletoe

with 17 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Click for greater clarity.

Here’s some mistletoe, Phoradendron tomentosum ssp. tomentosum. The scientific name is complicated. The plant is a hemi-parasite. That’s the long and the short of it.

Photographed in northwest Austin on January 2, 2012, a year ago today.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 2, 2013 at 6:23 AM

17 Responses

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  1. Not only is the name complicated, the entire classification system for these parasites is complicated. But, it’s also understandable. Best of all, the classification – obligate stem hemiparasite – leaves me seeing our mistletoe as an obbligato in nature’s symphony!

    shoreacres

    January 2, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    • And I’m obligated to say that you’ve made a good connection between botany and music!

      Whether anyone who recently smooched under some mistletoe was being parasitic (or at least hemi-), I’ll leave to others to determine.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 2, 2013 at 8:03 AM

  2. You have to love mistletoe. Can not get rid of it unless you are really diligent. Not sure If it does any real harm unless a tree is covered with its growth.

    petspeopleandlife

    January 2, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    • What I’ve read confirms what you said: a heavy mistletoe infestation can kill a tree, but lighter ones usually don’t. One reason people have traditionally liked mistletoe is that it provides glimpses of green in winter woods that otherwise lack that color till spring returns.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 2, 2013 at 9:54 AM

  3. Hi,
    They are an unusual plant, here in Oz most are red instead of the white, and a lot of wildlife eat the fruit.

    magsx2

    January 2, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    • Interesting that you refer to Australia as Oz. It seems that the Yellow Brick Road leads to red mistletoe fruit, which I wasn’t familiar with; in central Texas I’ve seen only the white.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 2, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      • LOL, steve. Some would regard Australia as a magical land, where anything is possible! LOL. ;)

        janina

        January 3, 2013 at 5:40 PM

  4. We have lots of mistletoe over here but yours has many more berries than ours are left with. We have definitely greedier birds.

    afrenchgarden

    January 2, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    • I’m afraid I don’t know how well or how long these fruits usually hold up. The birds and other animals here may follow yours in making a meal of these fruits.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 2, 2013 at 7:55 PM

  5. I’ve never seen mistletoe “in the wild”. Do you take company with you when you go out? ;)

    Joan Leacott

    January 2, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    • I see mistletoe often enough here in Austin, especially in the winter, when the plant’s green leaves stand out on bare tree branches. I usually go out photographing solo, because I can spend a long time in one place, but sometimes other people come along. I suspect you have some species of mistletoe in your part of Canada, so perhaps someone can point it out to you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 2, 2013 at 10:06 PM

      • LOL again, steve; that’s not what she meant….you know, Christmas and mistletoe, and, you know, kissing! OOhh! ;)

        janina

        January 3, 2013 at 5:42 PM

  6. Magnificent photo ! I adore !!

    GuillaumeGuillaume

    January 14, 2013 at 1:51 PM

  7. What beautiful white berries! :) And I am glad that the birds, at least, can enjoy eating them. I understand they are highly poisonous to the larger animals such as cats…

    wildwanderingirl

    January 14, 2013 at 2:44 PM


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